It Takes a Village to Stop HIV
BY Advocate Contributors
December 01 2011 5:00 AM ET
New York congressman Jerrold Nadler revels in being on the progressive side of history. In 1976 the New York City Democrat started a 16-year run in the state Assembly, where he became an early advocate for people with AIDS. During the height of fear and ignorance around the disease, Nadler championed a state program to fund AIDS meds and helped pass a ban on discrimination against New York’s HIVers.
After Nadler entered Congress in 1992, he fought for AIDS funding under the Ryan White CARE Act and other laws, helping to support AIDS Drug Assistance Programs and other services.
Nadler is optimistic when looking at overall HIV research and funding. Nadler recalled a point in the mid 1990s when Beltway fights often broke out over funding for government programs, a scenario not unfamiliar now. For instance, Republicans wanted to end all financing for the National Endowment for the Arts, but Democrats agreed to cut funding in the near term and gradually phase the agency out.
“I said, ‘This is a great victory!’ Everyone thought I was crazy, but a couple of years later, the Republicans were out, and, we saved the program,” Nadler says. “So after this next election, we’ll live to fight another day.”