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Release Report on Presidential Candidates' Positions

Release Report on Presidential Candidates' Positions

Three HIV/AIDS advocacy groups released a report Wednesday highlighting stark disagreement between Democratic and Republican presidential candidates on how to address the ongoing epidemic.

Housing Works, Gay Men's Health Crisis, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago polled 16 leading candidates on issues such as abstinence-only sex education, syringe exchange, the implementation of a national AIDS strategy, and lifting the ban prohibiting HIV-positive foreigners from entering the U.S. The 85 pages of results and analysis are available online at

According to the survey, seven Democratic contenders have pledged to spend $50 billion to fight HIV and AIDS globally over the next five years. No Republican candidate supported such a plan. All eight of the Democratic candidates polled supported comprehensive sex education, while all but one of the eight leading Republican candidates -- Rudy Giuliani -- have openly opposed it.

"AIDS is not a Democratic or a Republican issue," Sean Cahill of Gay Men's Health Crisis said at a press conference in New York. "It's a human issue."

The poll also showed that the three leading Democratic candidates -- Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama -- would support ending a ban on federal funding for needle exchange. These same candidates, as well as fellow Democrats Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson, said they would draft a national AIDS strategy early in their first term if elected.

The results of the survey were purposely released three days before World AIDS Day, which has been observed on December 1 since 1988 to promote awareness of HIV and AIDS.

Miguel Mendez, senior vice president of Housing Works, said the next president will have the power -- and the responsibility -- to stop the spread of the disease.

"World AIDS Day is this Saturday, in the year 2007, "Mendez said. "But the real World AIDS Day will be on Election Day." (The Advocate)

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