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GMHC Applauds Proposals in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address That Will Help New Yorkers Living with HIV/AIDS

On Wednesday, January 8, Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address included several proposals that will help reduce new HIV infections and provide support for people living with HIV and AIDS, including $100 million in new funding for affordable housing; a tax credit for lower and middle-income renters; re-entry support for recently released incarcerated New Yorkers to find employment; and advocating for the Women’s Equality Act.

According to Janet Weinberg, GMHC’s Interim CEO, “We applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership on initiatives that address disparities in access to safe and affordable housing and employment, and that fight discrimination against women. All are among the most devastating drivers of the HIV epidemic.”
“We also appreciate that Governor Cuomo now supports access to medical marijuana,” continued Weinberg. “Governor Cuomo’s medical marijuana research program is an important first step in alleviating the pain and suffering of so many New Yorkers. However, we still need comprehensive legislative reform to ensure broad access to safe and effective medical marijuana.”

Frank Spinelli, MD, a GMHC Board member and physician specializing in HIV, shared his thoughts about the proposed medical marijuana research program: “I applaud Governor Cuomo’s initiative to bypass the blockade in the State Senate against the Compassionate Care Act. As a physician, however, I have a few questions about the details released yesterday about his research program, including how and where my patients will be able to access medical marijuana and how we can ensure that it is safe and effective.”

Both Ms. Weinberg and Dr. Spinelli have provided testimony at hearings and press conferences on medical marijuana.

Jason Cianciotto, GMHC’s Director of Public Policy concludes: “With over 131,000 New Yorkers diagnosed with HIV in this State, we still have a long way to go towards ending the epidemic. We look forward to our continued work with Governor Cuomo, our allies in the State Legislature, Mayor de Blasio, newly-elected City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the New York City Council, to create and implement a comprehensive plan that will end AIDS in New York State. We have the knowledge and technology. All we need is the political will.”

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