Alex Blaze

Cutting HIV services in the name of responsibility

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 26, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics

As we've seen in the US, times are tough and we all have to make sacrifices to get through David_Cameron.JPGthis recession. Finance-sector executives receiving record compensation may have to pay taxes at the already elite-friendly 1990 rates (if Congress can muster the courage to ask them to do that), while working class HIV-positive people with the bad luck to live in the wrong state are being asked to die quietly.

You see? Everyone's chipping in. It's that kind of can-do spirit that made this country great.

But it's not just the US that's gotten on the austerity train as many countries seek to use this entirely man-made recession to justify unnecessary cuts to social services. Conservative UK prime minister David Cameron is getting criticized for cutting health services, especially those related to HIV/AIDS:

The Labour gay group countered that government cuts would "significantly squeeze" HIV funding and that "words of support for tackling HIV must be matched by action".

James Asser, the co-chair of LGBT Labour, said: "Many health services will be forced to slash specialist HIV support services. Government cuts to local authorities will see many HIV/AIDS support groups and voluntary organisations lose essential funding.

"The government has already stated it will abolish the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health & HIV and it's unclear what, if anything, will replace it."

Both the Expert Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS and the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV were scrapped in a shake-up of public bodies in October.

Fortunately Cameron has a plan. He has a solution to HIV/AIDS that costs a lot less than those fancy-schmancy "doctors" and "health services": condescending lectures!

Mr Cameron thanked the gay community for its work on HIV but said the fight was "still far from won".

"You need to support each other in avoiding the virus. You still need to practice safe sex. You need to test and to know your HIV status," he said. " And as a society we need to continue to fight prejudice and stigma, especially as they can be a barrier to testing and treatment.

"I talk a lot about responsibility when it comes to my politics. And this World AIDS Day it's important everyone thinks about the responsibility they have towards themselves, their partners and the wider community. Only together can we fight and then beat HIV and AIDS."

By "together" he means "you all do the work and then I'll take credit for having talked about 'personal responsibility' if you somehow succeed."

This isn't just American drifting off towards the right as the rich see the failing economy as an opportunity to cut social services to the "parasites" in the system. It's the new global order and unless we stop fighting amongst ourselves and see what power is doing right now to consolidate power, anything the government does that benefits working people will be eliminated.

These people don't have enough shame or compassion to even make sure that people outside their little club can stay alive, as we've see in states cutting ADAP funding and creating AIDS meds waiting lists. I don't see how everything else isn't in danger.

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