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AIDS And The Budget
"I DO NOT WANT TO DIE! I really don’t wanna die…….about 30 percent of people who have AIDS are diagnosed in their twenties, that means most were infected in their teens." (It Happened to Nancy) More and more people are being infected with the HIV virus everyday, and if we do not raise the budget, to provide and cure those with the disease, and try to prevent it, the whole country is going to be HIV positive. "The cost of treating people with HIV is increasing by about 20% annually." (AIDS research budget threatened). The future plans for the budget will have a major impact on many lives, especially those who rely on federal programs for support. As in the past, the impact of AIDS and related illnesses continue to influence the budget along with the level of research that could lead to a cure. In 1992, Laura Thomas reported, "Funds for AIDS research are in danger of being reduced to levels that would seriously impede progress towards effective treatments." (AIDS Research Budget Threatened) When a person is poor, or homeless, they do not have the funds to pay for medical treatment to keep them healthy, and prolong their lives. Funding for AIDS research from the government is essential in the process to find a cure for this horrible disease. The budgets in the past, are a direct reflection of what the funding should be in the future, and without sufficient funding for AIDS research and development, there will be no cure, or vaccine to stop this epidemic.
Immigrants are a targeted group of individuals who, are threatened by cuts in the budget to reduce health care, and research. Immigrants are one of the groups in need of special health care, because of things such as poor income. Funding and budget decisions need to include everyone who is at risk, even legal immigrants. The 1997 Budget Reconciliation was a plan that would negatively affect legal immigrants, including those infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. Representative Clay Shaw made a number of provisions which represented a departure from the bipartisan budget agreement. This agreement included a provision which would soften the impact of 1996’s welfare reform law on legal immigrants, or those who are already citizens. This could be done by restoring SSI and Medicaid eligibility to legal immigrants in the country as of August 22, 1996. (Anti- Immigration provision). The provision would only allow those individuals who were receiving benefits prior, citizen immigrants, to continue to receive them. Immigrants who contract the HIV virus, who are not citizens, but are living in the U.S., and later become disabled by AIDS would not be eligible to receive SSI benefits because of these provisions. The only thing that Rep. Shaw offered was that immigrants who are senior citizens could receive the benefits. All of these immigrants who contract the HIV virus, and who do not have medical care, could spread the disease, and many people would die sooner then they need to. Getting government funds to all aspects of AIDS research and development, needs to include everyone.
Communities of color are a direct target for the HIV/AIDS epidemic. President Clinton said on October 28, 1998, "AIDS is picking on the most vulnerable among us." (Clinton Outlines New AIDS Initiative) He has outlined a 156 million dollar program to help Blacks and Hispanics get services they need, to their communities. The President also stated, "The AIDS crisis in our communities of color is a national one, and that is why we are greatly increasing our national response." (Clinton Outlines New AIDS Initiative) Even though AIDS was first diagnosed in a small group of homosexual males, everyone is at risk of getting the disease. ("Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS")
It cannot be denied, that AIDS is hitting hardest in areas where there is very little knowledge about the disease, and poverty is high. Blacks account for more than half the new HIV infections. (Clinton Outlines new AIDS Initiative). Most people do not know that Blacks are eight times more likely than whites to contract the virus while Hispanics are four times more likely. (Clinton Outlines new AIDS Initiative). These communities are not being educated properly in regard to danger
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