Aids And The Budget

This essay has a total of 2521 words and 10 pages.

Aids And The Budget

"I DO NOT WANT TO DIE! I really don't wanna die…….about 30 percent of people who have
AIDS are diagnosed in their twenties, that means most were infected in their teens." (It
Happened to Nancy) More and more people are being infected with the HIV virus everyday,
and if we do not raise the budget, to provide and cure those with the disease, and try to
prevent it, the whole country is going to be HIV positive. "The cost of treating people
with HIV is increasing by about 20% annually." (AIDS research budget threatened). The
future plans for the budget will have a major impact on many lives, especially those who
rely on federal programs for support. As in the past, the impact of AIDS and related
illnesses continue to influence the budget along with the level of research that could
lead to a cure. In 1992, Laura Thomas reported, "Funds for AIDS research are in danger of
being reduced to levels that would seriously impede progress towards effective
treatments." (AIDS Research Budget Threatened) When a person is poor, or homeless, they do
not have the funds to pay for medical treatment to keep them healthy, and prolong their
lives. Funding for AIDS research from the government is essential in the process to find a
cure for this horrible disease. The budgets in the past, are a direct reflection of what
the funding should be in the future, and without sufficient funding for AIDS research and
development, there will be no cure, or vaccine to stop this epidemic.

Immigrants are a targeted group of individuals who, are threatened by cuts in the budget
to reduce health care, and research. Immigrants are one of the groups in need of special
health care, because of things such as poor income. Funding and budget decisions need to
include everyone who is at risk, even legal immigrants. The 1997 Budget Reconciliation was
a plan that would negatively affect legal immigrants, including those infected with the
HIV/AIDS virus. Representative Clay Shaw made a number of provisions which represented a
departure from the bipartisan budget agreement. This agreement included a provision which
would soften the impact of 1996's welfare reform law on legal immigrants, or those who are
already citizens. This could be done by restoring SSI and Medicaid eligibility to legal
immigrants in the country as of August 22, 1996. (Anti- Immigration provision). The
provision would only allow those individuals who were receiving benefits prior, citizen
immigrants, to continue to receive them. Immigrants who contract the HIV virus, who are
not citizens, but are living in the U.S., and later become disabled by AIDS would not be
eligible to receive SSI benefits because of these provisions. The only thing that Rep.
Shaw offered was that immigrants who are senior citizens could receive the benefits. All
of these immigrants who contract the HIV virus, and who do not have medical care, could
spread the disease, and many people would die sooner then they need to. Getting government
funds to all aspects of AIDS research and development, needs to include everyone.

Communities of color are a direct target for the HIV/AIDS epidemic. President Clinton said
on October 28, 1998, "AIDS is picking on the most vulnerable among us." (Clinton Outlines
New AIDS Initiative) He has outlined a 156 million dollar program to help Blacks and
Hispanics get services they need, to their communities. The President also stated, "The
AIDS crisis in our communities of color is a national one, and that is why we are greatly
increasing our national response." (Clinton Outlines New AIDS Initiative) Even though AIDS
was first diagnosed in a small group of homosexual males, everyone is at risk of getting
the disease. ("Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS")

It cannot be denied, that AIDS is hitting hardest in areas where there is very little
knowledge about the disease, and poverty is high. Blacks account for more than half the
new HIV infections. (Clinton Outlines new AIDS Initiative). Most people do not know that
Blacks are eight times more likely than whites to contract the virus while Hispanics are
four times more likely. (Clinton Outlines new AIDS Initiative). These communities are not
being educated properly in regard to danger and prevention of this disease. The deaths in
the country as a whole has dropped, but among the minorities, it has dropped more slowly.
There is a misconception among Blacks also, most of them only believe that the gay
community is affected by the disease, and they do not realize they too are at risk. There
are already many programs which assist and help Black and Hispanics, such as AIDS project
Los Angeles and The Latino Commission on AIDS. They even make up half the patients that
helps pay for powerful, but expensive protease inhibitor drugs (affect the genetic
material of the virus and inhibit the ability of the virus to reproduce). This initiative
towards the color communities will provide a new pot of grant money which is targeted at
minority communities. Federal officials also plan to set up teams to help communities set
up programs to help Blacks and Hispanics at risk for AIDS, and also those who already have
the disease. Increasing awareness through targeted programs will very likely reduce the
number of minorities with HIV/AIDS.

Women are also at a high risk for contracting the disease. AIDS Project of Los Angeles
reported that women are less likely to have any knowledge about and access to combination
therapy (therapy including drugs and medicines, and physical or psychological therapies).
Those who do have access to therapies, have shown a decrease in depression, anxiety and
pain, and have an increased quality of life. This was especially found to be true in women
of color. (Congressional Briefing On The Impact Of AIDS On Communities Of Color) Data
suggests that more support groups and programs for women could be useful because they are
more likely then a man to contract the HIV virus. It is possible, but very hard for a man
to contract the HIV virus from a woman. That is true because a man's bodily fluids are
dissposed into a woman's body, while the woman's fluids have a very slim chance to get
into a man's body, unless through oral sex. Increasing care for the women with HIV is just
as important as increasing it for anyone else.

With the great risk of a child receiving the HIV virus from his or her mother, there also
needs to be increased care for those individuals too. Mary Ellis Donaldson was a person
who worked with children who were infected with AIDS, and she discovered a lot of things
about them. The group of kids she worked with, were children living in a shelter, who had
been abandoned by their parents, and were cared for by volunteers. She states, "most, if
not all of them, had any idea that they had very limited time to live. They knew that they
felt sick and tired a lot of times but they also saw that there were plenty of people at
the Shelter who cared about them and wanted to be with them." (AIDS "Testimonial") This
shows that children, just like everyone else, need special attention, and with more
funding, there can be bigger, and even better shelters for children struggling with the
disease. Mary Ellis Donaldson fought to have a certain shelter be put up in her community,
and if more people were to suggest shelters, and decide to speak up, they could be built,
and more children can be cared for, and shown that they are loved.

Not only will all infected individuals be affected by changes in the budget but HMO's will
also be greatly affected. Doctors who are on budgets fixed by HMO's, most likely want
healthy patients on their plans, so they can make a profit. There are few diseases as
finacially deadly as AIDS, so doctors do not want to put those patients with the disease,
on their HMO. On average, an AIDS patient costs around thirty-six times more then the
average HMO patient. Dr. Bary Siegel said "we need nice healthy people who rarely need
healthcare." (AIDS, other costly diseases challenge HMO Plans) To make money on budget
means you need healthy people who do not need healthcare. They are not paying big amounts
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