About AIDS

HIV Docs Quiz Candidates on AIDS Positions

The International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care asked Al Gore and George W. Bush to respond to a questionnaire on HIV issues and has published their responses.

Gore's campaign answered each question, with some key points summarized here. Gore:

• believes HIV/AIDS is "one of the most urgent" public health priorities;

• would enhance national and global programs initiated by Clinton;

• supports the current ban on HIV-infected people entering the US;

• favors increased support for HIV testing and counseling;

• would focus prevention education for teens on abstinence but leave program content in local hands;

• would leave implementation of needle exchange up to local public health officials;

• would expand Medicaid coverage of treatment to early stage HIV disease, not just when the patient develops AIDS.

Instead of answering the questions, Bush submitted a general statement. He would support research by doubling NIH's budget. He believes in "effective prevention campaigns and ... the Ryan White CARE Act." Bush wrote, "Conquering AIDS will be a priority," but he'll rely on a global effort.

IAPAC President Jose Zuniga laments, "AIDS is an 'invisible issue' in the 2000 presidential campaign, with neither candidate articulating a vision or strategy ... (T)he candidates' responses to the IAPAC questionnaire fall short." This writer concurs: In seven years as governor, Bush has never even mentioned AIDS publicly, pointedly distancing himself from support. Gore, while better positioned, clearly has a long way to go, especially on prevention and foreign visitor policies. It would seem we can expect no leadership on AIDS from either.

(for details, see September IAPAC Monthly or go to www.IAPAC.org)

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