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Democratic Presidential Candidates Respond To Questions About Needle-Exchange Programs, Sex Education

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Needle-Exchange Programs, Sex Education

MostDemocratic presidential candidates would support lifting a ban on federalfunding for needle-exchange programs and replacing abstinence-only sexeducation with comprehensive HIV prevention programs if elected, according to asurvey released Wednesday ahead of World AIDS Day, the AP/SiouxCity Journalreports. The survey was conducted by AIDS Project of Central Iowa, Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa and several other groups inthe state. It included three questions and was sent to Democratic andRepublican presidential candidates (AP/Sioux City Journal, 11/29).

The questions are:

  • Do you support the Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA), which expands Medicaid for HIV-positive people who would otherwise need to become completely disabled in order to qualify for Medicaid-covered services?

  • Do you support the replacement of funding for international and domestic "abstinence only" HIV prevention programs with scientifically based, comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education programs?

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  • Do you support access to sterile syringes, as a means of protecting public health, by lifting the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange? (Survey text, 11/28).

Among theDemocratic candidates, Sen. Joe Biden (Del.),former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.)and New MexicoGov. Bill Richardson met the deadline for the survey and all answered"yes" to the three questions. Answers from Sen. Hillary RodhamClinton (N.Y.) were too late to be included in materials distributed by thecoalition. However, her campaign "did respond 'yes' to the questions"after the deadline, Becky Johnson with the AIDS Project of Central Iowa said.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. MittRomney, both of whom are running for the Republican presidential nomination,declined to answer the questionnaire. The remaining Republican and Democraticcandidates did not respond, according to the AP/Journal.

The coalition in a statement said there has been a "lack of leadership atall levels that has allowed HIV to continue to spread through inaction andfailed promises." The other agencies involved in the questionnaire includethe American Red Cross Central IowaChapter, Lutheran Services in Iowa Refugee Cooperative, Urban Dreams, Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of IowaNetwork and Creative Visions (AP/Sioux City Journal,11/29).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reportis published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.