That is a fair assessment of how matters now sit in Massachusetts. The voters are (at worst) suckers and (at best) complacent.
Reform, if it is ever to be realized, must come from the top. Step up, governor, and do your duty.
WALK FOR AIDS AWARENESS
Thanks in a large part to the Massachusetts AIDS Action Committee, HIV-AIDS has gone from being a plague to a largely treatable disease — as long as one has access to quality health care, which, despite some steps in the right direction, is still not a given.
The ongoing economic crisis threatens to compromise the gains AIDS Action has achieved. Because of groups such as AIDS Action, Massachusetts over the last 10 years has emerged as a leader in the fight against HIV-AIDS, with an almost 60-percent reduction in diagnoses. As a result of this drop, $1.6 billion in health-care costs have been saved.
It is a paradox, but to keep health-care costs for AIDS-HIV under control it is important to maintain the minimum level of investment required to keep the rate of infection declining.
This is becoming increasingly difficult to do. Over the last 10 years, Massachusetts has cut AIDS-HIV prevention, education, and outreach programs by 25 percent. Despite declines in the infection rate, the overall number of people living with AIDS has increased 42 percent. Most affected are African-Americans, Hispanics, and young people under 35 from all ethnic groups — especially teenagers and twentysomethings.
Since, in the long run, it is most economically efficient to prevent AIDS rather than treat it, further cuts are self-defeating and represent bad public policy.
That is why it is so important for people who care to contact their state representatives and senators to instruct them to restore proposed AIDS cuts and fully fund HIV initiatives. (Visit aac.org for details.) Just as important, show your solidarity with the friends and families of those infected with HIV or suffering from AIDS. Join the 26th annual AIDS Walk Boston on Sunday, June 5. (Again, details are available at aac.org.) For many, especially first-timers, walking for AIDS is an incredibly uplifting experience. Walk if you can. Donate if you can't. And be sure to call your state legislator and urge that funding for AIDS-HIV be approved at $33.6 million.