Hawkins Supports Increased Efforts to End AIDS Epidemic

Hawkins Supports Increased Efforts to End AIDS Epidemic

Calls for Full GLBT Rights

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, said that while he supported the new initiative by Governor Cuomo to better track individuals with HIV in order to eliminate the AIDS epidemic, more funding and reforms were needed.

Hawkins has previously called for fully restoring funding that Cuomo had cut from the AIDS Institute and homeless youth shelters. While Cuomo says he will increase funding for the AIDS institute by $5 million next year, he proposed a $12 million cut in this year's budget.

Hawkins congratulated advocacy groups such as the Treatment Action Group and Housing Works for mobilizing the advocacy community to push for greater government action on the AIDS epidemic, including tracking. Hawkins cautioned, however, that careful attention also needed to be paid to its implementation, including the need for increased funding such as for expanded prevention programs. Attention needs to be paid to closing gaps in the HIV continuum of care. Federal guidelines now recommend antiretroviral treatment for all adults and adolescents living with HIV, as well as screening for HIV for everyone between 15 and 65. In May 2012 only half of those with HIV in NY were receiving any care and only 37% were controlling their viral load.

"The adoption of a single payer, expanded and improved state Medicare for All program would go a long way to ensuring that all New Yorkers, including those with HIV, receive the care they need. Dealing with HIV also means expanded efforts to deal with problems such as poverty, hunger and homelessness, all of which negatively impact on the well-being of those with HIV," said Hawkins.

Cuomo's announcement of the HIV initiative was released to coincide with the Gay Pride March in NYC. Hawkins and his Lt. Governor running mate Brian Jones also released their platform on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.

"We support full legal and political equality for all persons, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity, characteristics, and expression. The Green Party was one of the first groups to campaign for same-sex marriage. The Green Party Mayor and Deputy Mayor of New Paltz began performing same-sex marriages in 2004 soon after they were elected, leading eventually to state legalization," noted Hawkins.

Hawkins said he would restore the funding to the AIDs Institute that Cuomo cut as well as restoring funding for homeless youth shelters. Hawkins supports enacting the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and Child-Parent Security Act (CPSA), while he would prohibit sexual orientation conversion efforts.

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