US Representative Schakowsky Seeks to Mobilize HIV Community Around 2012 Elections

By jschneidewind on November 17, 2011 in Policy/Advocacy

by Jimmy Schneidewind, Public Policy Associate, AIDS United

2012 could be the most important election year ever for people living with HIV, according to United States Representative Jan Schakowsky. On Thursday, November 10, AIDS United held an institute at the United States Conference on AIDS entitled, “HIV/AIDS and Election 2012,” at which Representative Schakowsky addressed the importance of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections and the impact the election results will have on HIV communities.

Many HIV advocates realize that biomedical-advances and policy initiatives over the past year and a half, that we are closer than ever to ending the HIV epidemic. Whether or not we capitalize on this extraordinary opportunity will largely depend on the next White House Administration and Congress’ commitment to implement and fund these important achievements. Schakowsky spoke to this, reminding the audience that the 113th Congress will be charged with reauthorizing the Ryan White Care Act, implementing the major reforms of the Affordable Care Act, continuing the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and determining funding appropriations for domestic HIV/AIDS programs through the Budget Control Act and fiscal year budgets.

Schakowsky implored the audience to begin organizing and advocating NOW for the candidates that will best represent the issues important to people living with HIV.  As examples of the progress that can be made when people become galvanized around an issue, Schakowsky pointed to union leaders in Ohio who struck down a law to curb collective bargaining rights for public workers, and the recent recall in Arizona of Republican State Senator Russell Pearce — the architect of Arizona’s austere anti-immigration law.

We have more options available to us in the fight against HIV than at any other time in our history. We have the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy, written and conceived of by the federal government, which calls for a massive reduction in infections, stigma, discrimination, a massive increase in access to care, and a stated goal of ending HIV in this country. We have the roadmap and the momentum needed to make the next five years the most historic period ever for fighting HIV. If we are to follow through on the call to action by Representative Schakowsky and advocates across the country, we must ensure that we are represented by public officials who understand and are steadfast in the fight against HIV. That starts right now as we prepare for 2012: the most important election year yet for people living with HIV.

Post a Comment

We'd love to hear what you think about this piece! Submit your comments below and join the discussion.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

< Back to the blog