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AIDS Action Asks Mass. Public Health Council to Forge a State AIDS Plan to Help Stop HIV/AIDS Here
Date:2/13/2008

Commissioner Auerbach offered future, fuller discussion to pursue; request was part of report to the Council about new survey findings from AIDS service clients

BOSTON, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AIDS Action Committee's Executive Director Rebecca Haag today asked the Massachusetts Public Health Council, the body that sets policy for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to create a state AIDS plan, noting that 900 new infections annually in Massachusetts after more than 25 years of AIDS is unacceptable when we know how to prevent new infections. Haag presented to the Council findings from a new survey of people living with HIV/AIDS who seek services.

"You were appointed by a Governor who said, 'Together we can.' But together, we're not," said Haag. "The state plan, like the National AIDS Strategy many of us are requesting of the next President, should include measurable outcomes, have a timeline, engage the business community, government and non-profits, assign accountability and include adequate funding." Calling out disparities for marginalized communities and the struggle for comprehensive sex education, Haag also said the plan must be culturally competent to re-engage the broad public. "HIV/AIDS should not be passed to the next generation to solve; we must use our leadership to end HIV/AIDS now," Haag said.

The findings of the survey, preceded by 10 focus groups in six cities, showed that people living with HIV/AIDS experience a unique cornucopia of health concerns, unmet complex service needs and economic insecurity at earlier ages than people who are not living with HIV/AIDS, partially because medications extend lives while people's immune systems must continue to fight HIV infection.

"We're asking the Public Health Council to join us because the same programs, services and messages are insufficient to stop the spread of this infectious disease and to address the increasingly more complex needs
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SOURCE AIDS Action Committee
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