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New Mexico governor signs AIDS bills

New Mexico governor signs AIDS bills

New Mexico governor Bill Richardson has signed into law two bills that he said demonstrate the state's commitment to helping its HIV-positive residents. The Billy Griego HIV and AIDS Act requires the health department to provide education, prevention, and treatment services--including clinical services and drug and insurance assistance programs--for HIV-positive New Mexicans. A seven-member medical advisory committee will review HIV treatments and policies; a constituent services program will evaluate complaints and service requests. The bill is named for the late brother of its sponsor, senator Phil Griego. Billy Griego, who died of AIDS complications in 1987, was fondly recalled by Richardson at the signing ceremony as an early campaign volunteer and friend. "In numerous other states people are dying while waiting for their AIDS medications. This is not going to happen in New Mexico," the governor said. Richardson also signed a measure that authorizes him to appoint a 23-member HIV/AIDS Policy Commission to serve as the planning and advisory group for the health department's AIDS programs. The commission will include state officials, representatives of health management organizations, HIV-positive people, and members of the public with relevant experience. (AP)

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