Lexington, KY – Two statewide advocacy groups, Kentucky Equality Federation and the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group today condemned House Bill 350 as ethically irresponsible and a crime against anyone living with HIV/AIDS.
House Bill 350 seeks to remove HIV/AIDS training and education requirements for licensed service providers such as physicians, registered nurses, social workers, etc. Both organizations are opposed to the legislation because treatment options change rapidly, making it imperative that all health care professionals know the physical manifestations of HIV/AIDS. It is a matter of getting people in the proper care as soon as possible. This could be the difference in a healthy outcome or multiple misdiagnoses that would end up costing more financially either for the patient themselves or for the taxpayers of Kentucky.
“Treatment options change rapidly, therefore physicians or other clinicians that do not treat HIV/AIDS as a specialty would be hard pressed to know the best treatment options for their patients infected with this disease,” stated Bobby Edelen, president of the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group.
To compound the issue, Kentucky lawmakers allowed the Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program to expire. “The fact that the Commonwealth also stopped funding the low-income Kentucky AIDS Drug Assistance Program in 2007 is inhumane, shortsighted, and threatens individual and public health,” stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.
Gary L. Fowler, a special adviser to the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group, and Co-Chair of the Kentucky HIV Prevention Advisory Council (KHPAC) stated: “I would like to point out that surveillance training is necessary for us to have the best information available to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Kentucky has a high number of people infected with the disease that report unknown risk factors. If we do not have accurate numbers for who is being infected and what their behavioral risk factors are, we do not have a clear picture of where we need to target our prevention dollars.”
Edelen continued: “House Bill 350 does a disservice to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky by lowering healthcare standards for service providers and should be defeated. The citizens of this great Commonwealth deserve the best representation from their lawmakers to ensure the quality of healthcare is held to a higher standard than ‘minimum’ and enforced with every protection under the law.”
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