Says Democrats and Republicans Still Need Aids 101 Education

Vice presidential debate highlights gap in understanding of U.S. epidemic

Oct 06, 2004, 01:00 ET from

    NEW YORK, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- released the following
 statement today:
     When asked a clear, direct question by PBS Senior Correspondent Gwen Ifill
 about the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic during their debate, neither Vice President
 Cheney nor Senator Edwards gave a clear, direct answer.
     Both candidates' responses lacked specific plans for addressing the
 disproportionate impact of HIV on women of color in the U.S., indicating the
 urgent and ongoing need for increased awareness and education of both
 campaigns on this vital domestic issue.
     "As a black woman and an AIDS activist, I'm offended," said Linney C.
 Smith, Housing Works Senior Vice President for Prevention and Services. "It's
 outrageous that Vice President Cheney has no idea that black women are dying
 of AIDS in America, and it's outrageous that Senator Edwards failed to address
 this huge gaffe and offer his own plan to save the lives of women of color and
 others at high risk."
     Vice President Cheney said he was "not aware" that African-American women
 are 13 times more likely to die of AIDS than white women, but that "we need to
 do more" for prevention, education and research. Senator Edwards spoke only
 generally about the need for preventative health care and pledged that a Kerry
 administration would double the U.S. commitment to global AIDS. urges the audience participants and moderators of the two
 final presidential debates to demand specific and detailed answers from the
 candidates about their HIV/AIDS policies.  The group's model presidential
 platform contains a detailed plan on effective strategies to combat HIV/AIDS
 in the U.S. and abroad.  Hundreds of organizations and thousands of
 individuals have endorsed this platform, generating emails to the candidates
 encouraging them to do more in the fight against HIV/AIDS. is a joint project supported by the nation's leading HIV/AIDS
 service, advocacy and research organizations.