By Hilda Solis
Democratic Congresswoman Hilda Solis has represented the 32nd district of California in the House of Representatives in Washington since the year 2000. During that time, she has spearheaded Congressional inquiries into issues that especially impact Latinas.
In the following unsolicited post exclusively given to Latina Lista, Congresswoman Solis explains her support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and their shared feelings on the future direction of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Throughout my career in public service, I have made reducing racial and ethnic health disparities, including HIV/AIDS, a priority. Preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS is a goal I share with Hillary.
Despite advances in treatments and knowledge, HIV/AIDS continues to claim the lives of millions of people every year. Today, poor communities of color and women are bearing a disproportionate burden of the disease.
Although Latinos represent 14% of the population, they account for one-fifth of AIDS cases.
Hillary’s HIV/AIDS plan would increase funding for research, prevention and education. It would especially help groups in the U.S. that have seen HIV infection rates rise over past years, such as Latinas who represent 18 percent of new AIDS cases among women.
In an effort to address the cultural and linguistic barriers impacting Latinos and other groups of color, Hillary will increase funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative and support the prevention and treatment efforts of minority-run community based organizations such as community health workers or Promotoras de Salud.
Last year, I engaged in a bicameral, bipartisan process to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act, our nation’s provider of last resort for care and treatment of people living with HIV and AIDS. While last year’s process was long and contentious, I am pleased that through our work the Minority AIDS Initiative became law.
I am also pleased that we were able to recognize the importance of organizations that provide language access services to ensure care is culturally and linguistically appropriate.
However, there is still much work to be done!
We must continue to raise awareness and serve all people who are affected. Nearly one in four people who have HIV in the United States do not know they are infected. Education, awareness, prevention and treatment continue to be the best tools to fight this epidemic.
The current Administration continues to pursue an abstinence-only approach, despite the fact that these programs have NOT been proven to be effective.
We need to support and fund comprehensive HIV prevention programs that send a strong message that young people should delay sex until they are older, but also provide them with the information they need to protect themselves.
Fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic effectively will take bold leadership. Hillary Clinton is prepared to offer that leadership: she’s presented a comprehensive and excellent plan for fighting HIV/AIDS, and that is why I strongly support her for President.