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Reader's view: Fight against AIDS requires more federal government money

I’m a medical student in Duluth, and I’m writing because today, Dec. 1, is World AIDS Day. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 7,960 Minnesotans were living with HIV/AIDS in 2014. In the same year, there were 307 new cases of HIV, up 2 percent from 2013. Globally, there were 26.9 million people living with HIV, including 2 million new cases, according to the World Health Organization.

While there have been major improvements in HIV treatment and management, this virus still is deadly. In 2014, there were 64 AIDS deaths in Minnesota and 1.2 million globally.

HIV/AIDS is far from being eradicated and remains a relevant public-health issue for Minnesotans and all global citizens. However, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief was cut by more than $300 million between 2010 and 2013. While there were modest increases in funding in 2014 and 2015, the requested funding for the 2016 fiscal year is $288 million less than the 2015 enacted amount.

Without enough money, we will never achieve an AIDS-free generation. Please contact Congressman Rick Nolan ((218)-464-5095), Sen. Amy Klobuchar ((218)-741-9690) and Sen. Al Franken ((218)-722-2390) with this information and ask them to vote to restore funding to the 2010 level.

Julia Mandsager Komatsu