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White House Releases New Federal HIV/AIDS Policy

President Obama has released the new national HIV and AIDS policy. It comes after more than a year of nationwide meetings to about the issue.

Nick Gallagher is one of more than a million Americans living with HIV and AIDS. He’s pleased with the President’s plan.

“We finally have a president who cares about people with HIV and AIDS. We’ve kinda been left out in the dark the last 10 years or so,” said Gallagher.

The Obama administration wants to cut the number of new HIV infections by 25 percent over the next 5 years. The President’s plan also calls for increase access to care and testing.

Some say it’s a step in the right direction.

“A step. You gotta keep those steps going. Education I think is the main thing of importance,” said Trev Trevino, who has lived with the disease since 1985.

But they also worry about getting the funding to accomplish the president’s goals.

The federal government spends nearly 19 billion dollars on HIV and AIDS programs. The Presidents plan does not add anymore money to those programs, but the administration says the recently passed health care reform law also includes benefits to those with HIV and AIDS.

Gallagher says he needs all the help he can get. His income dropped 20 percent last year because of state and federal cutbacks.

“So anything that will help people with lower income like myself and suffering with the disease is gonna be a help for all of us,” said Gallagher.

The administration says the spread of the disease has slowed since the 1980’s, still nearly 56,000 Americans contract the disease every year.

It’s deadly fight some like Gallagher have managed to survive. He said there’s a lot riding on a federal plan, that it’s the difference between life and death.

KESQ News Team

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