Presidential candidates say national healthcare sure, but HIV/Aids no ideas - 7.5.2007.1
In the recent Democratic Presidential debate held at Howard University, an interesting question was brought up. What are the candidates going to do about HIV/AIDS. The question was posed to specifically address the fact that it is the leading cause of death for Black women age 25-34. But considering roughly half of the estimated 1.3 million people infected in America today are not African American it is a question that EVERY American should be concerned about.
With over a decade of knowledge and research posed on this one subject, most would expect that the government would have a defined plan in place. Goals and targets set, with periodic reports of status towards those goals. Yet none exist. Nor does a single candidate of either political party have an answer.
Probably the most powerful comment came from Senator Clinton
“If HIV/AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.”
That may be a true statement, but we have learned a few things. HIV/AIDS is not a gay issue, nor an African American issue. It’s not something that is exclusive to the poor or uneducated. This is a medical problem that affects the lives of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and children. That does not even touch upon the epidemic nature of these diseases in the rest of the world.
If we compare it to Viet Nam, which affected the entire nation, and is often quoted as affecting every 5th American in some personal manner, there were 58,209 reported dead, 305,000 reported wounded and 2,000 still considered missing. Right now there are at least 500,000 that have been killed and 1.3 million infected today. Viet Nam tore the heart out of America, and HIV/AIDS is killing us.
The fact that not one Presidential candidate has a plan, of any type, is remarkable and incredulous at the same time. This is an issue that does not go away in time or if we do not speak about it. If we do not act on this in a structured manner, it will grow and become more of an issue. If I were to compare it to a cancer, if you do not do anything about it it will kill you.
It’s not enough to hear a nice soundbite, that grabs our emotions on this issue. It’s not enough to make a statement that everyone can agree is true. We need a PLAN. We need LEADERSHIP. Isn’t that what the Presidential candidates are supposed to be presenting in these debates?
I’m glad that the issue of HIV/AIDS is more understood today than it was in the past. I’m happy that the rampant fear that came with the recognition of the disease has toned down a bit. But I’m not happy that there is no leadership in place, or seemingly forthcoming, to deal with this disease. Hiding our collective heads in the sand is not an answer.
Speaking in a Presidential manner is great. Looking Presidential is wonderful. Being a leader that can hold the position of President of the United States requires a bit more. Part of that is having plans for issues that affect 1 in every 300 Americans, and potentially could affect 1 in 10. And for those that think it’s not so bad the National Cancer Institute believes there are 8 million Americans with cancer today, that’s roughly 1 American in 150, and the second leading cause of death in America.
Don’t you think that an issue of such a magnitude deserves attention? Shouldn’t any potential President of America not only be aware that this issue exists, they should have a plan. One that takes more than 30 seconds to explain and get cheap votes on?
This is what I think, what do you think?