A key member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced yesterday a bill to combat AIDS that would, among other provisions, distribute condoms to prison inmates.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced the bill “to bring an end to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world” in advance of the 19th International AIDS Conference that will begin in D.C. on Sunday. It has 27 Democratic co-sponsors.
“The conference is an excellent opportunity to shine a global spotlight on the fight against AIDS in African American communities and a national spotlight on the ongoing global epidemic,” said Lee, founding co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. “I’m calling for a new, Global AIDS Free Generation Strategy — for the U.S. and abroad. AIDS remains an urgent global health crisis, but the end of AIDS is within our reach.”
The bill “increases and targets federal resources to maximize impact of HIV efforts, expands efforts to end stigma and discrimination, repeals and reforms laws that violate human rights and undermine the positive impact of resources, and maximizes federal coordinating efforts to drive greater efficiency and improved results in all HIV and related programs.”
The legislation also provides for “the expansion of comprehensive sex education, the distribution of condoms to people in prison, and improved provisions for monitoring HIV care.”
Lee was the original sponsor of legislation that lead to the repeal of the immigration and travel ban that barred the entry of HIV-positive individuals, which led to the conference returning to D.C. for the first time since 1990. President Obama is not attending.
“Thirty years after the first discovery of AIDS cases, the U.S. has made tremendous progress in addressing the global and domestic crisis,” said Lee. “AIDS, however, remains an urgent global crisis requiring a long-term strategy and immediate action. Our hard won successes are in jeopardy and H.R. 6138, the Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Act, is a critical measure as we recommit ourselves to fighting to end AIDS.”