AIDS doctors call on Obama and Romney to end drug war

By David Edwards
Monday, July 23, 2012 12:17 EDT
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AIDS specialist Dr. Evan Wood (CBC)
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Two Canadian doctors are telling on President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney that the war on drugs is actually making it harder to fight AIDS.

Doctors Evan Wood and Julio Montaner, who specialize in AIDS, are part of an advertising campaign that has a simple message for Obama and Romney: “You can’t end AIDS unless you end the war on drugs. It’s dead simple.”

The advertising campaign has also been endorsed by billionaire Richard Branson and the former presidents of Brazil and Colombia, all of whom also supported the 2010 Vienna Declaration which says the criminalization of drugs is fueling the HIV epidemic.

The campaign launched on Monday, just one day after the opening of the 2012 International AIDS Conference opened in Washington, D.C.

“One of the messages coming out of the conference is how putting energy into drug law enforcement and engaging in this cat-and-mouse game with drug addicts really contributes to the spread of HIV and does not reduce the availability or the use of drugs,” Wood told CBC.

The doctor pointed out that the war on drugs drives addicts underground, often meaning that they aren’t tested for HIV. Also, the drug war inflates the prison population, where HIV spreads much more quickly.

“If you look internationally at countries that have been aggressively waging a war on drugs, they have a much higher rate of HIV infection,” Wood explained.

Watch this video from CBC, broadcast July 23, 2012.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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