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Bush Versus Kerry

Bush Versus Kerry

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A comparison chart of the AIDS platforms and positions of presidential candidates John Kerry and George W. Bush released in July by a coalition of U.S. AIDS and advocacy organizations'along with similar candidate profiles on the Web site www.aidsvote.org'shows a wide gulf between the two candidates on domestic HIV issues. Bush has proposed only minimal increases in funding for the domestic AIDS fight, mostly for the nation's cash-strapped AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, but he flat-funded or cut federal support to other Ryan White act programs, according to advocates. Bush also flat-funded the Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS program. Kerry, by contrast, pledges to significantly increase federal Ryan White and HOPWA spending and to boost ADAP support to eliminate program waiting lists and other restrictions. Kerry also is a Senate cosponsor of the Early Treatment for HIV Act, a bill that would extend Medicaid coverage to HIV-positive people who have not progressed to an AIDS diagnosis in an effort to better preserve the health of HIV-positive, low-income Americans. Bush has remained silent on the proposed law, according to the candidate comparisons. Regarding HIV prevention policies, Kerry supports comprehensive HIV education and prevention efforts that include condom usage and has pledged to lift the ban on using federal funds for needle-exchange programs, according to the comparisons. By contrast, Bush supports abstinence-only HIV and sex education, endorses condom use only when abstinence and monogamy fail, and has retained the federal ban on funding needle-exchange programs. Bush administration officials also have disputed the effectiveness of condoms in prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, according to AIDS groups. The candidates have vastly different positions on a number of other HIV-related issues, including the use of generic anti-HIV drugs in developing nations, the U.S. ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants, trade policies, debt relief, AIDS orphans, family planning, and the 'Mexico City policy' global gag rule, which prevents any U.S. AIDS funds from going to organizations in foreign countries that provide abortion counseling or services, even if those services are paid for through separate funding streams.

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