AIDS Action Committee
Today, two to three people in Mass. will become HIV positive. In one year, more than 900 new infections will afflict the state. Between 24,000 and 26,000 people currently live with HIV/AIDS, but what’s more disturbing is that a quarter of them do not know it, and risk passing the virus to others.
AIDS Action Committee of Mass. (AAC) is a community-based, non-profit organization focusing on the prevention of AIDS in the Mass. population. The general mission targets AIDS prevention through education and advocacy while supporting those already infected. In addition, the organization lobbies for substantial AIDS policies at all levels. AAC boasts a staff of 70 dedicated individuals along with hundreds of volunteers, all passionate about erasing this deadly virus.
How Well Does the Boston Healthcare System Treat its Homeless Constituents? An Interview with Spare Change Vendor and Healthcare Consumer, Ed Larsen.
HJ Pound: What is the easiest way for a homeless person to obtain health care?
Ed Larsen: Honestly? Get yourself put in the hospital. Hospitals are also businesses that need to get paid. You rack up a high enough bill and they will do whatever it takes to get you MassHealth so they can get their money.
HP: Do you believe that everyone should have health insurance?
EL: There are pros and cons. Everybody deserves basic care, but there are consequences to socialized medicine. If everyone gets basic care here [in the United States] you will end up having to wait a really long time for specialist services like in Canada and Europe. Except for the rich. Unless we move to a single-payer system the rich will always have private insurance and get care faster.
HP: How has being homeless effected your health care?
EL: Well, I am on MassHealth for now, and I am happy. I do eventually want to get a job aside from being a Spare Change vendor though. Subsidized housing won’t be there forever, besides, I am not a big fan of the government. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything the government has done for me, I just don’t want to be at their mercy forever. The problem is, I don’t want to lose MassHealth either. Private insurance is great in some ways, but it doesn’t cover everything. [Private health insurance] used to be impossible to get with pre-existing conditions, and even now it only covers certain necessary services to an extent, which is crazy because it is so expensive. Plus, it already costs so much to live here, between transportation, housing, and taxes. And now, if you don’t have insurance you will get fined.
Four Arrested in Bank Protest
Four young women who chained themselves to a Bank of America in Copley Plaza were arraigned April 2 on counts of trespassing, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest.
Candace Bollinger, 27, of Hicksville, New York, Adrienne Naylor, 23, of Dorchester, Mass., Laila Murad, 17, of Brighton, Mass.; and Elise Ansel, 20, of Sanderlan, Mass. locked their arms together using large cylindrical tubes, while Bollinger locked her neck to the bank’s door with a bicycle lock in protest of Bank of America’s investment in the coal industry. Their protest yesterday was part of an international protest called Fossil Fool’s Day, according to Climate Justice Now (CJN) spokesman Evan Greer, 22. He claimed over fifty people protested.
Naylor decided radical protest was necessary because, she said, “Holding signs and sending letters doesn’t change shit.”
Ansel agreed, “You can’t change the system by working in it.”
The women said they hoped to raise awareness about damage they claim coal mining inflicts on the environment. Ansel said, “450 mountain tops in Appalachia were blown clear off.”