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Exciting New Plan from John Edwards on AIDS; Plan is 'Bold and Achievable,' say New Hampshire Activists

MANCHESTER, N.H., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Presidential candidate Senator John Edwards announced yesterday a new proposal for a more cost-effective approach towards stopping HIV/AIDS in the US and abroad. His plan also includes greater action to address violence against women and to provide reproductive health services.

"We in New Hampshire welcome the ideas in Senator Edwards' plan, especially his proposal on funding," said Reverend Paige Blair, Rector at St. George's Episcopal Church and member of the New Hampshire Fights AIDS Steering Committee.

"His plan is bold and achievable, and it's exciting to see such a realistic, science-based approach to the epidemic in the US and globally. We thank Senator Edwards for his leadership in addressing an epidemic that kills 8000 people, many of them children, each and every day," said Blair.

"Senator Edwards has recognized these are the policies we need to save lives -- now every candidate in both parties should recognize it, too," Blair added.

New Hampshire Fights AIDS is a Manchester-based grassroots movement led by community activists, including Congressman Paul Hodes, Christina D'Allesandro, Jesse Lamare-Vincent, and Lilleye Spooner.

To address the crisis in the US, Edwards lays out a series of progressive policies, including universal health care and practical, science-based approaches like clean needle exchange.

For the global epidemic, Senator Edwards' plan promises $50 billion in resources to reach universal access to prevention and treatment, channeled in a way so as to maximize cost-effectiveness. His plan also proposes more action to help nurses and other health care professionals affected by staff shortages and weak health systems.

The need for bold action is clear. In the US, half the people who need HIV treatment are not receiving it, and the number of new HIV infections in the U.S has not decreased in over a decade. Globally, basic prevention services reach only a fraction of those at risk, and in Africa, treatment is available to only about a third of those who need it to survive. According to the UN, the world still faces a massive shortfall in funding for basic services, especially for children.

New Hampshire Fights AIDS has joined the broad call for $50 billion in spending to fight AIDS, about a third of which would go to the prevention of disease. The group has urged US policy makers to back a 10 point plan on AIDS, which has been endorsed by over 100 organizations and health experts. The group is also backing a detailed plan on AIDS in the US.

The $50 billion in funding would have broad impact, if spent according to the 10 point plan. A significant portion ($8 billion over five years) would help countries improve their health care systems so that US assistance can be fully and effectively absorbed and put to good use.

Contact: Steve Howard, 603-617-4897 (cell: 802-236-5123); or Colleen Laurence 603-397-0153

SOURCE New Hampshire Fights AIDS
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