Two Kentucky Statewide Advocacy Organizations Condemn Kentucky House Bill 350 Which Seeks to Remove Training Requirements for Licensed Service Providers.

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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.

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.

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 into the proper care as soon as possible. This could be the difference in a good health 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."

KENTUCKY EQUALITY FEDERATION: Kentucky Equality Federation is an umbrella name used to describe Federation for Kentucky Equality, Inc., Kentucky Equality Coalition, Inc., and Kentucky Equality PAC.

Kentucky Equality Federation is Kentucky's largest all-volunteer grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex ("LGBTI") civil rights and advocacy organization. Since 2005 Kentucky Equality Federation has been a diverse organization consisting of several corporations and groups with a common cause for Peace, Liberty, and Equality for All.

Kentucky Equality leads efforts for LGBT civil rights at the state level through an array of strategies to bring equality and fairness to Kentucky.

Kentucky Equality Federation is a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (“ILGA”). Composed of over 600 member organizations around the world, ILGA is to this day the only international non-profit and non-governmental community-based federation dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people at the United Nations.

For additional information, visit http://www.kyLGBT.org, or http://www.kyequality.org.

KENTUCKY HIV/AIDS ADVOCACY ACTION GROUP: The Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy & Action Group is a coalition of groups concerned about the growing epidemic of HIV/AIDS in our Commonwealth and the often unrecognized impact that this infection has on all Kentucky citizens.

Our membership includes people living with HIV/AIDS, medical and support care providers, representatives of payor organizations, community group leaders, and allied organizations.

Since 2002 we have worked together to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in our Commonwealth with the goal of ensuring that those not infected with HIV/AIDS remain so and those living with HIV/AIDS receive the care and support that they need to lead rewarding lives.

For additional information, visit http://www.khaag.org.

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