to Pataki

Dear Governor Pataki,


New York State is the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in North America, and New York City is the must severely affected urban area . In addition, Long Island has the highest concentration of any suburban area in our nation, and the rate of new HIV infections in upstate areas continues to grow dramatically. Since your inauguration one year ago, you have failed to propose a comprehensive plan to address New York State's AIDS crisis. So far, you have only attempted to cut health and welfare funding and to dismantle AIDS and other human services crucial to New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.

Your most recent budget proposals are a disaster for PWAs, and for all New Yorkers who rely on our state's public assistance and public health care systems. Your plans will deny access to comprehensive, high quality needed medical care, and to food, shelter, clothing, medicine and personal care items necessary for a good quality life lived as a vibrant member of society.

Therefore, on Sunday, April 28th, AIDS, health care, and welfare activists and advocates from all across New York State are gathering in Gov. Pataki's home town of Garrison in Putnam County to demonstrate our support for our state's historic commitment to providing services for those who are ill and/or in need, to protest against your proposals, and to petition you to preserve, expand, and strengthen our state's safety net for all New Yorkers. We categorically reject the notion of a state fiscal crisis, which we believe has been intentionally created by tax reductions for affluent individuals and corporations. The cost of these political priorities can literally be measured in peoples's lives, on our streets, in our health care institutions, and in our cemetaries.

We join together and call on you, Gov. Pataki, and our State legislature to:

SUPPORT VITAL AIDS PROGRAMS:


Provide full funding for the ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program), ADAP Plus, and HIV Home Care programs, including all new state-of-the-art drugs therapies and diagnostic techniques as they become available.

Maintain and expand anonymous HIV testing programs and sites, and require unique identifier systems for ALL reportable AIDS cases to insure the privacy rights of all diagnosed with HIV.

Reject all mandatory HIV testing proposals for newborns and their mothers. pregnant women, and the accused; maintain ALL testing programs as voluntary.

Enforce existing AIDS curriculum mandates for ALL public school students, expand those mandates to include sex-positive and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender-positive education, and assure unencumbered condom availability for all young people.

Maintain and expand clean needle exchange funding and programs state-wide, and repeal legal restrictions on needle and paraphernalia possession.

Restore the integrity and authority of the state's AIDS Institute, including the executive public policy and inter-governmental programs, an autonomous and effective AIDS Advisory Council, and a director who will be representative of and responsive to people with HIV/AIDS.

SUPPORT IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAMS AND PRESERVE MEDICAID:


Increase current funding for Medicaid, indigent care, substance abuse, mental health, home care, and public health programs -- NO CUTS TO HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES!

Maintain state-wide integrity of public health care programs -- NO BLOCK GRANTS!

Maintain voluntary enrollment in managed care programs for ALL Medicaid recipients - NO MANDATORY MANAGED CARE!

Maintain full entitlement to Medicaid for ALL recipients of Home Relief -- NO TIME LIMITS!

Increase the availability of drug treatment-on-demand, including rehabilitation, detoxification, low threshold, and harm reduction programs, and comprehensive health care for ALL active users.

PRESERVE AND STRENGTHEN PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS:


Maintain full entitlement to assistance regardless of length of participation for ALL Home Relief and AFDC recipients.

Maintain state-wide integrity of public assistance programs -- NO BLOCK GRANTS!

Increase income-support amounts to reflect cost-of-living increases -- NO CUTS TO GRANTS!

Provide adequate support for additional children in families participating in public assistance programs-- NO PENALTIES FOR NEW BABIES!

Order the cessation of ALL "pro-forma" closings of public assistance for procedural errors. Require that all workfare programs are voluntary and that participants are adequately paid.

Maintain the funding and structure of current shelter grant programs -- NO LUMP-SUM "FLAT GRANTS"!

Sincerely,