Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry would double U.S. spending on domestic and international AIDS programs if elected in November, Kerry's daughter Vanessa said at the annual National Association of People With AIDS conference on Friday in Atlanta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Kerry also would expand research on medications and vaccines for the disease and "always use science and not ideology" when establishing AIDS policies, unlike the current administration, she said. "We cannot fight an epidemic if we are shackled by ideology," Vanessa Kerry said, adding that Bush administration officials have allowed religious and conservative views to guide the nation's AIDS policies, particularly the ongoing push for abstinence-only sex and HIV education for youths. The extra funds pledged by Kerry for the AIDS programs would come from the repeal of tax cuts implemented by President Bush for families who earn more than $200,000 per year.
NAPWA executive director Terje Anderson praised Vanessa Kerry's speech and her participation in a roundtable meeting at the NAPWA conference, calling it "important for all people living with HIV and those who care about us." Anderson says both the Kerry and Bush campaigns were asked to send representatives to speak at the conference, but Bush administration officials didn't respond to the group's invitation.