State lawmakers will hear concerns and questions regarding HIV/AIDS policy, prevention, and treatment during a historic hearing at the state capitol Feb. 5. Organized by the Minnesota AIDS Project as part of its third annual AIDS Action Day, the afternoon hearing will bring together legislators from both the House and Senate health committees.
Physicians, public-health officials, prevention workers, and individuals living with HIV are expected to give testimony during the joint meeting. Additionally, MAP will arrange time for individuals to meet with their elected state representatives.
"Our elected officials must understand that there is still no cure for AIDS," says MAP executive director Lorraine Teel. "Until it's over, we must recognize our accomplishments and continue the fight against HIV."
MAP is particularly concerned that recent reports of "miracle drugs" used to treat HIV and the possibility of "HIV eradication" have failed to impress upon lawmakers and the public the limits of such treatments, says Jeremy Hanson, MAP's public-policy assistant. "There's a lot of confusion about the new drugs," Hanson says. "We need to convey to [legislators] that AIDS is still an issue."
Last year's AIDS Action Day drew more than 150 people, and Hanson says he expects this year's showing to exceed that number. MAP's statewide network of contacts has grown significantly in recent months, he says.
In addition to following up on the HIV Prevention Act, passed last year, MAP will focus on HIV-prevention education in the schools and sexual-transmitted diseases (STDs) initiatives during the 1998 legislative session. For AIDS Action Day registration information, call 373-9169 or 800-243-7321.