Black Caucus to HHS’s Shalala: Declare AIDS State of Emergency!
Maxine Waters
AIDS Leading Killer Among African-Americans 25-44 Years Old

Representative Maxine Waters (D.-Calif): “A National Crisis!”

Compiled by Badpuppy’s GayToday

Chair of the 39-member Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Maxine Waters, (D.-Calif) told reporters that AIDS requires nothing less than a declaration by the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services to the effect that a dire state of emergency exists and must be made widely known to an unsuspecting or  foolishly-fearless public.

The Congresswoman-leader foresees increased funding for the disease if Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, in concert with such federal agencies as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will cooperate and seize leadership in the war against AIDS.

Such leadership, say AIDS activists, including members of ACT UP groups from coast to coast, has been sadly lacking, as has also been reported unhappily by the U.S. President’s own carefully appointed AIDS counselors.

One major bone of contention is needle exchange, which has been endorsed by the AMA the ABA, 10 years of inner-city studies and other major sources of scholarly and informed opinion. 

Needle exchanges are, say all of the decade’s studies, an extraordinarily inexpensive—dime-wise- way to save lives. They do not invite or increase drug use among the uninitiated. But political operatives, masquerading as moralists, oppose the sensible  defensive tactics that such needle exchanges represent and nix federal funding for it on the long-disproved grounds that it signals the government’s approval of illegal intravenous drug use.

African Americans, who make up only 13% of the U.S. population, now, as shown in recent statistical AIDS demographics studies, account for over a third of all AIDS cases (36%). 

“If the federal government continues to ignore the alarm calls of the Rainbow Communities being decimated by AIDS,” said Martin Bethune, an AIDS activist, then the belief that this disease was deliberately introduced by the Feds will continue to grow in both the black and gay male communities. (See GayToday’s continuing series on AIDS)

“One only has to look at the statistics,” said Benny Primm, executive director of  Manhattan’s Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation.  Primm said that the present $3 billion allocated to the struggle against AIDS and the proposed increase for the upcoming fiscal year, is not helping to eradicate the virus in the areas where it strikes.

“This (federal) money ought to be following the epidemic,” Primm told a news conference, “It has not.” 

Representative Waters, after meeting with Black Caucus members, medical professionals and AIDS activists, said, “This is a national crisis…and we cannot rest until it is considered as one.”

There has been an annual decline in AIDS deaths among other groups, say  demographics specialists, but not in any meaningful sense among blacks.