‘Health care is a right, not a privilege'

‘Health care is a right, not a privilege'

Channel 2 Action News

Channel 2 Action News told you the CDC estimates one out of 51 Georgians will be diagnosed with HIV.

Now, Fulton County has laid out its plan to eradicate AIDS in Atlanta.

“The problem is real. We've become the capital of the growth of HIV and AIDS,” Congressman John Lewis said.

Calling health care a right and not a privilege, Lewis supported Fulton County’s task force in its plan to eradicate HIV/AIDS in metro Atlanta.

A Channel 2 Action News investigation revealed in May that researchers and doctors believe Atlanta is the epicenter of what they are calling an "epidemic."

“I grew up in the 60s and polio was an issue when I grew up, and no longer you hear about polio today and it's because of will and intentionality and we can do the same thing,” said Chairman John Eaves with the Fulton County Commission. Fulton County laid out its blueprint for creating education for schoolchildren and providing opt-out screening in all health care settings and jails.

“It's important to ask the question, do you want to be tested?" Eaves said.

In solidarity with the strategy and national HIV testing day, both Congressman Lewis and Chairman Eaves sat down and swabbed the inside of their mouths. Twenty minutes later their HIV statuses were ready.

“The key to prevention is to know your status,” Eaves said. “It's this simple test the plan seeks to make readily available to all in 2015; the task force utilized nearly 35 million dollars of federal funding to stop the growth of HIV/AIDS."

“We need to spend more and more of our limited resources on health and not on bombs and missiles and guns,” Lewis said.

Phase three of the plan to end AIDS in Fulton County is laid out, and the leadership said it believes the groundwork is there as an achievable strategy.