David Mixner, writing for the Huffington Post, makes an eloquent case for the continued need to keep AIDS at the forefront of health-care reform requirements. Although he has a great deal of personal commitment to finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, his essay presents guaranteed AIDS care as an issue of both moral and economic imperatives.
Mixner discusses the challenges facing AIDS research in an age of complacency about the disease, and advocates forcefully for an increase in vaccine research and ensuring access to treatment options. While great strides have been made in producing medications and treatments that prolong the lives of those infected, the difficulty of ensuring that the infected are placed on courses of treatment in the first place is one that would be lessened if each American were guaranteed access to health services.
His argument for universal insurance coverage also rests on an economic basis: “HIV/AIDS costs the U.S. $36.4 billion a year, mainly in lost productivity. Access to treatment that keeps people healthy can reduce that figure substantially.” This point underlies the two major public policy debates facing the US at the moment: decreased American economic competitiveness, and health care reform requirements. Mixner’s demand for a public policy commitment on HIV and AIDS (both research-based and care-based) is financially and ethically responsible, especially given two disturbing figures: Nearly one quarter of Americans infected with HIV do not know their positive status and may be passing it on to others; another quarter of the population believes there is already a vaccine against HIV.
Vigorous, vocal support is needed to make sure that HIV/AIDS remains a focal point in the debate on American health care, regardless of the specific motivation.
To read Mixner’s piece in the Huffington Post, please click here.
-Until There’s A Cure