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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

On World AIDS Day, NM activists say more money is needed for prevention

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Friday, December 1, 2023   

New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment and prevention.

Equality New Mexico Executive Director Marshall Martinez voiced concern that many primary care providers fail to prescribe treatments known as PrEP and PEP, perhaps worried that they are specialized and complex. His group will ask lawmakers to provide more funding to the Department of Health to initiate educational outreach.

Marshall said the treatments significantly reduce risk and the effects of AIDS: "Since the beginning of the epidemic in the '80s, we've never had as powerful of a preventive tool as we have in PrEP."

According to Martinez, the New Mexico Department of Health reports there are between 3,000 and 4,000 people in the state living with HIV.

Federal data show American Indians and Alaska Natives have over twice the rate of HIV infection as their white counterparts. They also are more likely to die from HIV infection.

Nonetheless, Martinez noted the majority of those taking preventive medications are cisgender, white men. He stressed this demonstrates how important it is for the state to reach Indigenous and immigrant communities, starting with funds to train medical providers.

"And then public messaging in those sort-of non-traditional communities and from non-traditional messengers to say, 'Hey, there's this drug called PrEP - it would prevent HIV - you should ask your doctor about it,'" he explained.

It is estimated that since 1981, more than 40 million people have died from AIDS; in some countries, it is still the leading cause of death. Currently, almost 30 million people are using therapies to inhibit HIV and prevent AIDS.



Disclosure: Equality New Mexico contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Human Rights/Racial Justice, LGBTQIA Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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