HIV Is Making A Comeback, Thanks To Conservatives

hivConservatives love to demonize Planned Parenthood, claiming that the organization is little more than an abortion mill. The real facts are that providing abortion services are a very small part of what Planned Parenthood does, but never let that fact get in the way of anti-choice protesters and the politicians who count on their votes.

Republican lawmakers have made it a point to pass laws trying to outlaw or defund Planned Parenthood, and now in Indiana it seems to have had some disastrous consequences with an outbreak of HIV.

From Huffington Post:

Scott County, Indiana, the center of an exploding HIV outbreak, has been without an HIV testing center since early 2013, when the sole provider — a Planned Parenthood clinic — was forced to close its doors. The clinic did not offer abortion services.

The Scott County clinic and four other Planned Parenthood facilities in the state, all of which provided HIV testing and information, have shuttered since 2011, in large part due to funding cuts to the state’s public health infrastructure. Those cuts came amid a national and local political campaign to demonize the health care provider. Now, the state is scrambling to erect pop-up clinics to combat an unprecedented HIV epidemic caused by intravenous drug use.

The fact that Scott County was “without a testing facility until a few weeks ago is a glaring example of the kind of public health crisis that results when prevention and testing are left unfunded,” said Patti Stauffer, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky’s vice president for public policy. (Source)

HIV isn’t just spread by sexual contact, nor is it a disease confined to gay men. Conservatives have such a raging hatred for Planned Parenthood that they’ll ignore the fact that the organization does so much more than provide abortion services. In fact, only 3 percent of total services provided by Planned Parenthood are abortions, but never let those facts get in the way of right-wing talking points designed to promote anti-choice, anti-women legislation.

This isn’t just Indiana, it’s also being done in Texas and in other states across the country.

Texas has the third highest rate of HIV infections in the country, but that didn’t stop lawmakers from passing an amendment that defunds HIV/STD prevention programs Tuesday. The amendment to the House budget proposal—offered by Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R-Kaufman)—diverts $3 million over the next biennium to abstinence-only sexual education programs. (Source)

It is worth pointing out that this is part of a broader initiative by Republican-controlled state legislatures to push an extreme agenda designed to roll back the rights of women, gays and really anyone who isn’t a white, heterosexual Christian to a time before Roe v. Wade and the Civil Rights Act. It’s truly ignorant, shameful, and backwards, but it’s just par for the course with the far right which is in complete control of the Republican Party across the United States, especially in very conservatives states like Indiana, Louisiana, Texas and others.

As I’ve said over and over again, the only way to turn back this tide is to get out and vote. Vote, not just every four years, but in your local and state elections as well. Remember that the people who think Planned Parenthood provides only abortion services, and that HIV is only spread by gay men, are folks who vote in elections that affect each and every one of us.

If this doesn’t motivate you to get out and vote, I don’t know what will.


Facebook comments

  • Bruce Brown

    But they’ll blame it on the gays.

  • Gary Doan

    Is this a joke? They should all be covered by Obamacare, why don’t they get checkups?

    • Joe

      Yes, its covered under most insurance policies but you have to ask for it. But because of the stigma attached to HIV, some people feel like even asking for a test is admitting that you’re gay or a drug user or promiscuous so they get shy about going to their primary care doctor about it. Throw in misinformation about it and people think they can’t get it if they aren’t gay or something so they don’t bother to think of it. Throw in removal of the free anonymous testing sites and people don’t think about it or are too inconvenienced to bother driving long distances to even bother to get tested.

      So you get a few people in a rural area running around with HIV but no symptoms because they don’t appear right away, if at all sometimes, and lets face it, there ain’t a lot to do in rural america sometimes except drugs and sex so guess they do what they do, spread it more and more unknowingly and viola an epidemic.

      If I were king and made the rules, I’d start making an HIV test part of everyone’s standard physical procedure, but unfortunately I’m not. Personally I tell them to go ahead and test for that as well anytime they’re drawing blood for other tests for me, and try and get the free tests available at Pride events.

      Which goes into another aspect that sometimes even doctors are not experienced with it. One time I was at my primary care doc and she needed to take blood to test my cholesterol or something and it told her to test for HIV and other STDs which they were at it. She actually said to me “are you sure, you just got that tested 4-5 months ago last time you were here”. I just looked at her and said I am a sexually active gay man in his 20s (at the time) and you’re actually trying to talk me out of testing of testing for HIV and STDs. She just said something like tests approved and turned around to go file the paperwork.

      Point of the story, I don’t care who you are, gay, straight, male, female, single, married, partnered, whatever, get yourself tested dammit. At least once a year. Just do it at your physicals. Its quick, they’re probably already taking blood for something else.

    • Gene Babitchenko

      Also, I’m pretty sure Indiana didn’t allow the medicaid expansion until just last month.. so up until then, many people at poverty level couldn’t get insurance.

    • Jennifer King

      Well, even if they were covered by Obamacare or private insurance, they’ve pretty much demolished those testing practices at private health care offices along with rape kits because a doctor may be religious and refuses to administer a procedure or test based on their religious values. That’s how far out of control this matter is getting.

  • Macdoodle

    Instead of blaming conservatives why dont you practice safe sex or if you cant do that, abstain all together?

    • Joe

      The epidemic is primarily fueled by drug use and sharing needles and such. Not sex
      Even with a condom “safe” sex isn’t 100% effective
      Abstainance as a solution isn’t realistic. People in general have sex and enjoy it. That should be obvious by the ever growing population of the planet.

    • Susan Weber

      Typical conservative remark. Nice. Let em all die for being irresponsible. I would paint a scenario where your child is gay, you disown him, he is traumatized and becomes homeless on the street after you throw him out (this is typical in the bible belt). Because of this mental state he starts shooting up and gets aids from a tainted needle. Then he dies because he can’t get tested for this. Is this a little more personal for you now. Would you tell him that it is his own fault now. Conservatives completely lack compassion. They are the opposite of what they profess to be.

    • Nancy Oni

      So one night a fifteen year old virgin who is with her first boyfriend is making out. She has been taught nothing but abstinence at school and home because to teach otherwise is giving her permission to engage in sex. She knows her sixteen year old boyfriend is safe because look at him, he is soooo cute and doesn’t look like he has anything. She knows some of her friends are jealous, telling her stories of his other girlfriends. Besides they were his past, she is his now and future. He really cares for her and her love for him can change him.
      She is a bit scared when he pressures her to go further in their make out session, but they are in love and this is what people in love do to show their love.
      Also just a heads up parents, many kids do not realize that oral or anal sex counts as sex and are dangerous. While oral does lower risks for some things, the risk is still there.
      I used to do outreach, talking to kids at nights on the streets where they would hang out and hand out condoms, even testing if they wanted to at a prearranged spot in the area, usually the police stations. It is scary the lack of knowledge our teens have.

  • Why don’t Indiana people keep putting these idiot’s back in office just like us Kentuckian’s are gonna have to stop Putting these people in that only care about the rich, it takes stupidity to close planned parenthood clinic’s

  • Don’t Panic

    I’m a twenty something woman from Houston and Planned Parenthood is a life saver. I had a boyfriend who was born with HIV. He was adopted. There’s proof you don’t have to shoot up or be sexually promiscuous to have the disease. We dated for about 3 years and during that time, even though his viral load was condidered undetectable and we used condoms, I got tested monthly just for peace of mind. PP offers a rapid results test. You can either pay out of pocket like I did or use “Obamacare.” Anyway, being from a conservative family, my parents freaked when they found out and it ultimately tore apart what was at the time the most loving and meaningful relationship I’d ever experienced. Of course, the protesters out front with their signs and jeers for passers-by were no walk in the park either.

    My point is, institutions like Planned Parenthood are vital to public health and safety. People need to understand that by practicing ignorance, avoidance and outright intolerance, they are only making life more miserable for those who don’t fit the mold. We need to approach these very human issues with open hearts and open minds. Forget the us and them. We’re all in this together.