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House Candidates Jim Himes and Chris Shays Pledge Action on HIV/AIDS Epidemic

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Both Jim Himes and Rep. Chris Shays, candidates for US House of Representatives from Connecticut's 4th district, have signed a pledge to support a comprehensive strategy to fight HIV/AIDS in the US and around the world.

14,899 residents of Connecticut are HIV-positive, and in 2006 there were 422 new cases, according to the latest data available from the US Centers for Disease Control. Approximately 56,000 people are infected with HIV each year in the United States.

"HIV/AIDS is a major issue in Connecticut, and we congratulate both Chris Shays and Jim Himes for pledging the kind of leadership we need in the fight against AIDS in the US and around the world," said Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance Fund. "We also appreciate Rep. Chris Shays' outspoken support on this issue and sponsorship of important AIDS legislation in the Congress."

HIV/AIDS prevention efforts are paying off, but, at a global level, the disease still infects 7,500 people each day.

Connecticut exports $204 million worth of goods to Africa every year. It is estimated that without AIDS, the economic output of many African countries would be much greater than it is today.

The pledge, sponsored by AIDS Action Council and the Global AIDS Alliance Fund, commits candidates to backing a National AIDS Strategy that is comprehensive and based on scientific evidence, not ideology. 16 candidates, from across the US, have signed.

The pledge also commits candidates to backing a thorough reform of foreign aid, to ensure that US aid to alleviate poverty is well spent and to streamline the aid bureaucracy.

Fighting global poverty has bipartisan support, even with the financial crisis looming.

Last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated: "Of course, some will ask the inevitable question in these troubled times -- how can we afford it? I would ask instead -- how can we not afford it? How can we afford to leave the world's striving, struggling poor to their own devices? How can we afford not to support weak, poor, and poorly governed states that as we have seen, can destabilize the world in the 21st century?"

Contact: David Bryden, 202-789-0432 x 211 or mobile 202-549-3664

SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance Fund
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