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To the Editor Founded in 1905

Robert S. Abbott (Founder) 1905-1940 John H. Sengstacke (Publisher) 1940-1983

Frederick D. Sengstacke (Publisher) 1983 - 2000 Col. (Ret.) Eugene F. Scott (Publisher) 2000-2003 David M. Milliner (Publisher) 2003 - 2004

Guest Editorial

Seeking health insurance coverage for routine HIV screening Recently, on Capitol Hill, U.S. Rep. Maxine

Waters (D-Calif.), a Congressional leader in the fight to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS through increased awareness, screening, research, treat- ment, and funding, sent a letter to the Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, urging her to include routine annual screening for HIV in the Essential Health Benefits package under the Affordable Care Act. Atotal of 56 Members of Congress signed the Congresswoman’s letter. The text of the letter follows:

“As Members of Congress who are con- cerned about the impact of HIV/AIDS in our communities, we write to urge you to include routine annual screening for HIV as a preven- tive procedure in the Essential Health Benefits package under the Affordable Care Act. “There are over 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States today, and about 20% of them do not know they are infect- ed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 50,000 new HIV infections every year, and more than 16,000 people with AIDS died in 2008.

“The CDC recommends routine HIV screen- ing in all health care settings for patients aged


1. Prejudice and racism in all of its forms must be elim- inated and destroyed.

2. Racial profiling and police brutality must be removed from police practices.

3. Reparations, or remediation, must be the final chapter in the arduous ordeal of slavery and legal segregation. 4. Opportunities for inclusion and advancement in all unions must be unrestricted.

5. Full access to government contracts for all. 6. Representation in all police and fire departments must reflect the community they serve. 7. Increase access and availability for quality, affordable housing for all.

8. Establish a living and fair wage as a fundamental right for all Americans.

(Revised January 1966, May 2001)

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13-64. Routine HIV screening allows HIV-pos- itive individuals to learn of their status and begin medical treatment to prolong their lives and maintain their health and productivity. Research also indicates that HIV-positive indi- viduals are less likely to transmit HIV to other persons if they are receiving treatment. Routine HIV screening is also consistent with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which was released by the White House in July of 2010 and which seeks to increase the percentage of people living with HIV who know their status. “Unfortunately, some health insurance plans do not cover routine HIV screening. Instead, these plans cover HIV tests for patients with known or perceived risk factors (for example, men who have sex with men and intravenous drug users) and patients who show symptoms of AIDS. However, many of those who are infect- ed do not fall into high risk categories. About 27% of new infections involve heterosexual transmission, and women account for 23% of new infections. People of color have been impacted severely, with African Americans accounting for 44% of new infections and Hispanics/Latinos accounting for 20%. Approximately 68% of new infections are among people of color.

“As long as health plans refuse to cover HIV tests as routine health screenings, many doctors and health providers are unlikely to encourage routine HIV screening for their patients. As a result, many patients who are HIV-positive will not discover their infection until their HIV/AIDS is more advanced and treatment is less likely to be effective. Meanwhile, they will not be able to take action to avoid spreading the virus to others. Indeed, approximately one- third of people who test positive for HIV progress to an AIDS diagnosis within 12 months, suggesting that many were unaware they were HIV-positive for an extended period of time. Thus, routine HIV screening is a criti- cal component of HIV/AIDS treatment and pre- vention efforts. “We appreciate your commitment to compre- hensive health benefits, and we urge you to facilitate routine HIV screening by including it as a preventive procedure in the Essential Health Benefits package. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the Affordable Care Act meets the needs of all Americans, including those who are affected by HIV/AIDS.”

Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel

Michael House President

Carol E. Bell

Exec. Dir. of Fin & Bus Op Frances Jackson

Director of Advertising

CTU President says CPS’ turnaround targets further destabilize, poor and minority communities

Dear edtor,

Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen GJ Lewis charged Monday that the Board of Education's plans to “turnaround” 10 neighborhood schools will have a negative impact on students. She also questioned whether the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) has a conflict of interest due to its direct ties to the Board. “Today we learned through the press the names of 10 schools reportedly tar- geted for “turnaround” by the District-a decision that will impact thousands of students and hundreds of school employees,” she said. “We are con- cerned that CPS continues to make seri- ous decisions in isolation and without consulting and collaborating with the school communities that will be hurt by its actions,” she said. “Instead of wel- coming honest dialogue, CPS only gave an illusion of transparency by telling the public to go online or attend hastily called meetings where they were limit- ed to 120 second comments . That was nothing more than a carefully managed public relations campaign.

“Our greatest concern is about how this process disruptive to students who are treated as data points and 'seats' to be shuffled from building to building,” she said. “The desire to see change for change's sake always concerns me. Turnarounds are expensive and destabi- lizing to students who live in neighbor- hoods already rocked by foreclosures, unemployment, high incarceration rates, violence, malnutrition and a lack of other resources. Now, the Board comes along and fires all of their teach- ers, lunchroom workers, building engi- neers and other faces they know and trust.

Instead of giving students in

under-resourced schools the attention they deserve, they are starved of resources, put on a hit list, labeled as failing, and then shut down or given over to private interests.”

Lewis also added, “I am also con- cerned that six of 10 schools are report- edly going to AUSL because both the Board president and chief administra- tive officer have strong ties to this pri- vately run organization. This doesn’t sit right with us and it gives an appearance of a “conflict of interest.” The appear- ance of such a conflict should be inves- tigated.”

Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union

Chicago Defender • • November 30-December 6, 2011 11

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