Your AIDS Advocacy Update
Vol. 9 No. 4 - February 20, 2003
***Plan to Participate in AIDS Action Day on Monday, February 24. Join
us at the Capitol or participate from your desktop.
***Pawlenty's cuts in public health, local government aid and health
care will limit care for people living with HIV and undermine overall
HIV and STD prevention efforts.
***Conservatives push to block young people's access to care or
treatment to prevent STDs, unplanned pregnancies or substance abuse by
repealing minors consent.
Take Action! Participate in AIDS Action Day
Also in this issue:
*The Pawlenty Budget: Where We Stand
*Sustain Our Commitment to Effective Prevention
*Providing Access to Life-supporting Care is at Risk
*Minors' Access to Health Services Threatened
*Experts Advise Coleman About Global Response
*Lawmakers Announce Plans to Introduce Comp Sex Ed Bill
*New Plan Eased Impact of HIV/STD Cuts
*MAP Testifies on Role of Non-profits in Public Health
*A Closer Look at the "No Tax" Argument [From MAP Advocate 1/10/2003]
Take Action! Participate in AIDS Action Day
It's not too late to plan to join us at the State Capitol this coming
Monday, February 24 for AIDS Action Day. Attend the State of AIDS
meeting from 10 to 11, and then attend meetings with your State Senator
and State Rep. Your presence at the Capitol makes a big, big difference.
However, you must register to participate by 2 p.m. on Friday. Click us
an email to [log in to unmask] or give us a call at
612-341-2060 or 800-243-7321.
Can't come to the Capitol? You can still participate. Give your State
Senator and State Representative of phone call. Send them an e-mail.
Tell them you are concerned about the impact cuts in public health,
local government aid and health care services will have on people living
with HIV and our HIV and STD prevention efforts. It's easy to find your
legislators, just click here to get find out who represents you in Saint
The Pawlenty Budget: Where We Stand
MAP supports the Governor's budget recommendations sustaining current
levels of spending for HIV prevention and care. MAP is concerned about
the likely impact of reductions in public health and health care
coverage and benefits. They diminish overall prevention efforts and
limit health services for those we serve. MAP will seek to reinstate
funding for HIV workplace education and K-12 HIV/STD Regional Training
Sites in Hopkins, Brainerd, Grand Rapids, Park Rapids, and Winona. MAP
opposes policies that create barriers to HIV prevention such as
limitations on comprehensive sexual health education, restrictions on
content that prohibit culturally relevant public health services, and
repeal of human rights protections based on sexual orientation.
Sustain Our Commitment to Effective Prevention
The Pawlenty budget sustains the State's dollar commitment to HIV
prevention. That's good because prevention works. A recently published
report by the CDC estimates that nationally, 1.5 million new infections
have been prevented. Continued investment in community-based prevention
ensures culturally relevant and age-appropriate public health education
to curtail the growth in infections. Each prevented HIV infection saves
annual medical costs equivalent to the purchase of a new car. Each
dollar spent on STD prevention saves $12 in future health costs.
Providing Access to Life-supporting Care is at Risk
35 percent of Minnesotan's living with HIV benefit from state and
federally funded HIV drug reimbursement and insurance reimbursement.
These services reduce dependency upon Medical Assistance for the full
cost of care. However, Approximately 5 percent of those with HIV depend
on GAMC and 15 percent on Medical Assistance. They will have no place to
go if benefits are reduced. Flat funding limits the ability to meet
their needs through existing HIV drug and insurance reimbursement
Minors' Access to Health Services Threatened
Rep. Tim Wilken [R-Eagan] introduced a bill to eliminate minors access
to confidential health services. HF 352 would essentially require teens
who might want screening for HIV or STDs or have questions about
pregnancy or substance abuse to show up with a permission slip from
their parents before they can receive health care services. The bill
prohibits schools from providing any such services - i.e., no condoms
available through school-based services - and repeals the state's
minors' consent law. It also prohibits minors who are mothers from
consenting to health services for themselves or their child without
asking their parents - unless they are married.
According to the American Medical Association (AMA), confidential health
services for adolescents have become increasingly important as the
severity and prevalence of adolescent health problems have increased
over the past two decades.
The good news is, according to AMA's Council on Scientific Affairs, most
adolescents (55 percent) discuss their use of reproductive health
services with their parents, and a greater number of adolescents involve
their parents in the event of an unplanned pregnancy.
The bad news: AMA reported 25 percent of teens would not seek medical
care if it meant their parents finding out they are sexually active.
To learn more about HF 352 and where MAP stands on the minor's consent
issue, please go to our 2003 - 2004 Action Agenda page. Watch for more
information about the Sex Ed for Life Youth Action Day at the Capitol on
Experts Advice Coleman About Global Response
Nearly three-dozen experts in HIV research and care, prevention, and
global aid met with Sen. Coleman [R-MN] at MAP on February 15 to start a
conversation about Minnesota's role in responding to the global
epidemic. Participants identified activities underway and possibilities
for more efforts. They also cautioned that reductions in responding to
the domestic epidemic would undermine capacities to be an effective
partner. Read about the meeting: Minnesota losing ground in AIDS fight,
experts tell Coleman Pioneer Press [February 16, 2003]
Lawmakers Announce Plans to Introduce Comp Sex Ed Bill
At a Valentine's Day press conference, Rep. Jim Davnie [D-Mpls], Sen.
Mee Moua [D-StP] and the Sex Ed for Life Coalition announced plans to
introduce a bill to restore comprehensive sexual health education as the
standard for HIV and STD prevention curriculum in schools. The bill will
be introduced the week of February 25 but you can check out a copy on
the 2003 - 2004 Action Agenda page. Also, read about the press
conference: High schoolers urge Minnesota legislators to support sex Ed
Star Tribune [February 15, 2003]
New Plan Eased Impact of HIV/STD Cuts
Cooler heads prevailed. Health Department officials were given the
opportunity to come up with an alternative to the $1.2 million
unallotment cut in HIV/STD prevention community grants initially
proposed by Gov. Pawlenty. They came back with a plan to redistribute
the reductions in such a way as to protect core HIV and STD prevention
services including counseling and testing, the statewide HIV information
and referral hotline, and most community-based services providing
outreach and education in high risk communities.
However, cuts in basic county public health services were made deeper
through this plan, important research efforts to help better direct
prevention efforts got shelved, and in other unallotment decisions,
access to health services was curtailed. For example, work to develop a
plan for addressing the emergent epidemic among African-born Minnesotans
has been set aside. Community-based HIV prevention services have been
cut. MAP lost funding for a service to ease access to clean syringes
through pharmacies. Minnesota Men of Color lost all of its HIV
prevention funding. Youth and AIDS Project, The City, Inc., and the HIM
Program at the Red Door Clinic as well as other lost funding for
targeted prevention services.
MAP Testifies on Role of Non-profits in Public Health
Nonprofit providers are able to make sense of all of the goals,
objectives and entangled funding streams created by lawmakers to get at
complex public health needs. Nonprofit providers such as MAP and others
are able to create one-stop access points where people can actually get
the intended services in a way that makes sense. This is one of the
points Bob Tracy, MAP's director of community affairs and education made
when invited to present at a hearing on public health and nonprofit
partnerships hosted by the Senate Health and Family Security Committee
on February 11. MAP also noted that nonprofit make public-private
partnerships happen by bringing together public and private dollars.
A Closer Look At the "No Tax" Argument [From MAP Advocate 1/10/03]
The price of government has been dropping in Minnesota since 1999.
Surprised to hear that? Yup, through the 90s, the cost of government as
a percentage of Minnesotan's income was about 17.5%. Now it's around
15.5%. Not only has the tax burden been going down, but it's been
shifted more and more from broad based, progressive state taxes to the
local property taxes - the one's least responsive to a person's income
and ability to pay.
Some say the reason the State has a budget crisis is that government
spending has been going up. The reality is it hasn't. What we did was
pull back state spending and cut taxes. Now we are told the only choice
for Minnesotan's is to make deep, deep cuts. However, if things like HIV
and STD prevention, health education for kids, and health care and
social services for communities affected by HIV are important, we may
need to ask if we should have more options.
Maybe, just maybe, the solution to the State's budget woes can be a
balanced mix of spending adjustments and inching up the cost of
government a bit back toward those pre-1999 levels. Care about HIV?
Thought taxes had nothing to do with that? We all may need to think
again - especially our Governor and State Legislators.