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Local advocates say Dean's HIV/AIDS position is correct way to go
Originally printed 2/12/2004 (Issue 1207 - Between The Lines News)
FERNDALE - Despite Howard Dean's lack of winning any state in the latest round of Democratic primaries and caucuses, the Michigan Positive Action Coalition (Mi-Poz) still likes what it sees in his official HIV/AIDS policy. In fact, the advocacy group of HIV positive individuals feels that Dean's HIV/AIDS platform should be adopted as the national model for the United States.
"Dean's comprehensive plan is exactly what this country needs," said Mark Peterson, Mi-Poz program director. "It is based on sound science instead of political and ideological agendas that impede effective prevention measures."
Dean's support for needle exchange programs, accessible testing and progressive education on safe behaviors including condom use, as well as supporting "research and development of treatment without political interference" are all pluses in the eyes of these advocates who have seen prevention efforts eroded over the past several years.
Dean calls for increased funding of treatment and care for existing federal health programs such as Medicaid and the Ryan White CARE Act and supports enactment of the Early Treatment for HIV Act which would provide medication for needy individuals before they become seriously ill. As a practicing physician, he recognizes the "critical importance of prevention and early diagnosis and treatment" and "the role that untreated disease can play in devastating individuals, families, communities, and whole societies." Dean also supports extending health insurance to all Americans.
"If every candidate had a platform on HIV and healthcare such as Howard Dean's, it would be a hard decision to make come election time," said Mi-Poz legislative affairs director, Rick Otterbein. "With President Bush's record on this issue, including devastating cuts to prevention, I know I will not be supporting him this year. It would be nice to see someone in the oval office with a platform such as Howard Dean's that shows they care for Americans' health care and safety."