New York Times reporter Erik Eckholm spent a few days in Puerto Rico investigating claims that mismanagement of Ryan-White HIV/AIDS care funding had led to clients going without HIV treatment medicines for weeks at a time and to HIV-treatment waiting lists for newly diagnosed HIV-positive individuals.
A few days ago, upon his return from the island, I was glad to be able to act as translator for a telephone interview he did with a service provider as he sought additional information for the article he was writing.
The result of his investigation appears in an article from today's newspaper ("Puerto Rico's AIDS Care in Disarray Over Funds," June 5, 2007).
Ratching up their Latino cred (or at least attempting to do so), Republican Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn and Democratic New York State Senator (and presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton have each released letters expressing concern about the goings-on (Coburn's letter can be accessed here; I can't find an online link to the Clinton letter but I've posted an image of it above and here).
There are advocates working diligently in Puerto Rico, New York and DC to draw attention to the dire situation in the island and to make sure that those without access to HIV medicines are quickly brought into appropriate care.
Let's hope that the Times article puts enough pressure on the Puerto Rico government and on federal HIV treatment funders to resolve the situation quickly and prevent this from ever happening again in the island.
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