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Senator Dean Barkley Pledges Action on HIV/AIDS Epidemic

ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dean Barkley, candidate for US Senate from Minnesota, has signed a pledge to support a comprehensive strategy to fight HIV/AIDS in the US and around the world.

"We hope that Al Franken, Norm Coleman and other candidates from Minnesota will also agree to sign the pledge," said Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance Fund. "The pledge helps voters see who is prepared to take a bold stand on this issue."

Barkley joins fifteen other Congressional candidates who have signed the pledge. The full list of signers and the text of the pledge can be found at

4,845 people in Minnesota are HIV positive, and there are about 200 new infections in MN each year, according to the US government.

The pledge includes a funding commitment that would mean continued research dollars for Minnesota's world class health research centers.

"HIV/AIDS is a major issue in Minnesota, and we congratulate Dean Barkley for pledging the kind of leadership we need in the fight against AIDS," said Zeitz.

HIV/AIDS prevention efforts are paying off, but, at a global level, the disease still infects 7,500 people each day. In 2007 the disease killed 2 million people.

The pledge, sponsored by AIDS Action Council and the Global AIDS Alliance Fund, commits candidates to a focus on the prevention and treatment needs of African Americans, other communities of color, gay men, and other groups at elevated risk.

Approximately 56,000 people are infected with HIV each year in the United States.

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 strong 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 not to support weak, poor, and poorly governed states that as we have seen, can destabilize the world in the 21st century?"

Both Senators McCain and Obama have backed continued aid, though progress on AIDS would be stalled by the spending freeze McCain has proposed.

CONTACT: David Bryden, +1-202-789-0432 x 211, +1-202-549-3664

SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance Fund
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