SC HIV/AIDS expert returns from White House policy trip

By Drew Stewart - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina AIDS expert Dr. Bambi Gaddist has returned from a trip to the White House to weigh in on what might become federal policy on the issue.

"South Carolina can ill afford to attempt to treat as we ignore the constant and ongoing increase of new infection," said Gaddist.

Gaddist says a lack of education about HIV and AIDS has lead to serious neglect of the issue.

With the General Assembly cutting AIDS awareness funding, she hopes her weighing in on federal policy will bring benefits to the local level, but she knows just having President Obama behind the plan is not a cure-all.

"He maintains a sensitivity and an awareness to the plights of people lesser than himself," said Gaddist.

To help bring the point home to President Obama, Gaddist took hand written letters from concerned South Carolinians to him.

Gaddist also says one of the greatest hurdles to education is eliminating the stigmas attached to HIV and AIDS.

The bottom line for Gaddist is making sure someone at the top is listening.

"Finally some of the things we have been saying for 30 years have been put back on the table and we're praying to God that someone takes them serious," said Gaddist.

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