Lobby Legislators To Increase HIV Prevention

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About 60volunteers from Virginia Organizations Responding toAIDS on Wednesdaylobbied state lawmakers to allocate additional funds for increased HIVprevention and education in the state, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

The volunteers asked legislators to support a budget amendment, sponsored byDel. John O'Bannon (R) and Sen. Henry Marsh (D), that would allocate $250,000in each of the next two fiscal years for HIV programs targeted at people ages25 and younger. The volunteers also asked legislators to support an amendment,sponsored by O'Bannon and Sen. Ralph Northam (D), that aims to prevent the useof methamphetamine, which can make people more likely to engage in riskybehavior, according to the Times-Dispatch. In addition, thevolunteers discussed housing support for people living with HIV/AIDS with thelawmakers.

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Dennis Buie, an outreach specialist with the Minority Health Consortium Inc.,said the response from legislators was better than expected. "It seemslike the people we talked to wanted to help," Buie said. "One way oranother Virginiais going to be spending money," Juan Pierce, executive director of MHC,said, adding, "Either you are going to spend the money to treat"people living with HIV/AIDS or "you are going to spend the money toprevent" the spread of the virus.

According to 2007 statistics from the state Department of Health, about 19,000 people are livingwith HIV/AIDS in Virginia,73% of whom are men. About 11,600 of all HIV-positive people in the state areblack, the Times-Dispatch reports (Smith, RichmondTimes-Dispatch, 1/31).

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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