Based on a very passionate discussion I found myself engaged in earlier this week, I am even more convinced that this upcoming presidential election will affect our lives for years to come. Particularly for the 1.2 million in the US who, like myself, are living with HIV, and the 33.6 million world-wide, this election will help define HIV/AIDS care for decades to come. As I pointed out to the lady earlier this morning, HIV/AIDS is far beyond partisan politics, as we are all affected by HIV/AIDS regardless of our political parties or ideology, however, in this election the choice is clear. While she argued her position that the Republican platform is friendly towards HIV/AIDS spending, I shared with her that former Governor Mitt Romney, while serving as governor of Massachusetts, cut HIV/AIDS funding for prevention, treatment and services by 15% (8.2 million) according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center report for FY03 to FY07, all while the new infection rate for HIV in the State of Massachusetts (and nationally) was climbing during this same time period. While 1 in 5 persons in the US who is infected with HIV is unaware, and each year, nearly 50,000 new infections are recorded (one new infection every 9.5 minutes), the choice is clear. The funding and protection for those like myself, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare), is the safety net needed to help insure quality of life for HIV/AIDS patients as well as a healthy and productive society for all to enjoy. It is my position that much more than Obamacare is required if we are to truly employ universal health care for all Americans, however, the PPAC Act is a huge step in the right direction when we view it in relation to the Republican platform.
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