Housing Works Criticizes Giuliani's Work On HIV/AIDS Issues

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New YorkCity-based HIV/AIDS advocacy group Housing Works recently criticized formerNew York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is running for the Republicanpresidential nomination, for his work on HIV/AIDS issues while in office, the BostonGlobereports. Giuliani "showed absolutely zero concern for people living withAIDS and HIV" during his eight years as mayor, Housing Works PresidentCharles King said. He added, "We had to litigate against him from thebeginning of his term to force his administration to follow New York law with regard to the provision ofservices and care to persons with AIDS and HIV."

Giuliani on World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 said that if he is elected president, hewould "continue America'slife-saving role as a leader in the global fight against HIV/AIDS until the dayhumanity can declare victory against this deadly disease." However, Kingsaid Giuliani's statements are "gross hypocrisy." According to King,Giuliani's administration withdrew the group's city contracts as punishment forits "frequent, very aggressive criticism" of Giuliani and hispolicies, the Globe reports.

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In 2005, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's (R) administration settled alawsuit for $4.8 million that Housing Works had filed against Giuliani'sadministration over the contracts dispute, but the city did not acknowledge anymisconduct in the case, the Globe reports. Maria Comella,Giuliani's campaign spokesperson, said funding levels for HIV/AIDS-relatedservices remained consistent while Giuliani was in office. In addition, theGiuliani administration maintained at the time that Housing Works' contractswere terminated because of mismanagement.

Housing Works also was among several organizations to file lawsuits againstGiuliani's administration on free speech issues, the Globereports. The group won federal court approval in 1998 to use the plaza outsideCity Hall for World AIDS Dayobservance, but Giuliani had closed the area for public demonstration citingterrorist threats, according to the Globe. King said that hisgroup was "surrounded by police in riot gear" and confined in pennedareas during the event. Comella said that as "a precautionarymeasure," groups using City Hall for rallies and demonstrations were"all asked to use the same safety procedures while using the space"(Mooney, Boston Globe, 12/7).

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.

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