Early treatment with antiretroviral and combination drug therapies is currently the best
known way to combat HIV/AIDS.  However, these treatments are often expensive and
usually unattainable without health insurance.  An estimated 29% of Miami-Dade’s
population does not have health insurance.  These citizens have nowhere to turn and
will, tragically, go without treatment, allowing the disease to progress until the
government finally steps in.

For these reasons, I introduced the Early Treatment for HIV/AIDS Act.  Currently,
individuals are only covered by Medicaid when they become disabled by full blown
AIDS.  Without Medicaid, many HIV-positive individuals cannot afford coverage; they lack
the ability to receive medical care that would prevent the onset of the infection and help
to slow the progression of the disease.

ETHA would extend Medicaid coverage to those still in the early stages of the disease.  
This would bring about all of the benefits of early treatment and early action that I
discussed.  HIV-positive individuals could live healthier, longer lives.
As the number of those suffering from HIV/AIDS continues to rise, it is imperative that
we take action. I will continue my fight to insure that all individuals suffering from this
awful infection receive adequate care and are able to life happy, healthy lives.

CONTACT: Alex Cruz,  Director - Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Copyright 2009| Ambiente.   Do not reproduce without prior authorization.
www.ambiente.us  AUGUST | AGOSTO 2009

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on HIV/AIDS

During my time as the US Representative for Florida’s 18th District, I have been a
dedicated advocate for those afflicted with HIV/AIDS.  While much progress has been
made, the fight is far from over.

Over 4,000 Floridians are being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS every year, many of whom
cannot afford the cost of adequate care.  The majority of these cases are in Miami-
Dade County.  Currently, the Miami metropolitan area has the highest AIDS rate in the
nation, and nearly 1.5 percent of the Miami-Dade population lives with HIV or AIDS.
These shocking statistics have strengthened my resolve more than ever to fight this
horrible disease.

Early detection and early treatment are two of the most important tools available to us
in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Currently, as many as one in four people living with HIV
do not know that they are infected.  With early detection, these individuals will be able to
prevent the disease from progressing to a life threatening stage.  They will be able to
protect their partner from becoming infected, and to prolong the duration and quality of
their own lives.  If caught early enough, an individual can live a regular, uninhibited life,
unhampered by the crippling effects that come with full blown AIDS.

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