Press Room

October 05, 2004

Category: HIV & AIDS

HRC Calls Vice President Cheney’s Remarks on HIV/AIDS ‘Inexcusable’

'Vice President Cheney's ignorance about the HIV/AIDS crisis is inexcusable,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques made the following statement regarding remarks made by Vice President Dick Cheney last night about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States.

"Vice President Cheney's ignorance about the HIV/AIDS crisis is inexcusable," said Jacques. "When asked about the effect this epidemic is having on Americans - especially communities of color - he said he was unaware of the problem."

Jacques continued, "He failed the question, but he's also failed millions of Americans at risk for or living with HIV infection. The administration has an abysmal record on the domestic epidemic, cutting funds for key prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and failing to adequately fund health care coverage for people with HIV. Despite this failure to fund, the administration has found resources to increase funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs by millions upon millions of dollars - programs that are unproven, untested and insufficient."

Moderator Gwen Ifill first addressed Vice President Cheney during the debate, saying, "I want to talk to you about AIDS, and not about AIDS in China or Africa, but AIDS right here in this country, where black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts."

Vice President Cheney responded first about the crisis in Africa, but then answered, "Here in the United States, we've made significant progress. I have not heard those numbers with respect to African-American women. I was not aware that it was - that they're in epidemic there."

"Cheney was just one of 13 House members to vote against the precursor to the Ryan White CARE Act in 1988 - the AIDS Federal Policy Act," noted Jacques. "Unlike the Bush Administration, Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards are focused on solving our HIV/AIDS crisis. Both co-sponsor the Early Treatment for HIV Act and support full funding for science-based HIV-prevention programs and the Ryan White CARE Act. The Kerry-Edwards commitment is strong and clear."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.