DOLLARS AND SENSE

What Can The U.S. AIDS/HIV Caucus Actually Accomplish In This Bad Economy?

Yesterday representatives in the U.S. House formed the first ever bipartisan HIV/AIDS caucus with the stated aims of “better enabling faith-based organizations to implement life-saving medical services and making significant strides so no child is born with HIV after 2015.” That’s great and all, but with such a shitty economy will the group actually be able to accomplish anything?

The caucus also aims to protect congressional funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that helps instate anti-HIV measure in other countries. But that takes money and according to The Huffington Post, “PEPFAR was reauthorized by the House in 2008 with a vote of 308-116, but right-leaning trends in the Republican party could make the program’s next reauthorization in 2013 more challenging.” The same goes for funding AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) which currently has a 9,000 person waiting list.

So what low-cost measures could the caucus do now to help reach their aim? The New York-based HIV advocacy group Housing Works suggests taking up the Justice Act to get condoms in prisons and the Repeal HIV Discrimination Act which would decriminalize HIV.

After all condoms and changed laws are much cheaper than treating HIV itself.

Image via FightHIVinDC