Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is too often “yes.”
A lot of tough conversations need to be had about the AIDS crisis and poverty if we are to make headway on either one. Policymakers need to hear about the ways in which economic deprivation can limit people’s ability to protect themselves from HIV. They need to hear how the design of medical services, ADAP, and housing programs for people living with HIV/AIDS can incentivize staying poor or getting sick in order to be eligible for much-needed benefits. They need to hear how women in particular are impacted by economic disparities relating to HIV. They need to hear it from you.
Check out this fact sheet on HIV and economic justice from PWN, the Positive Women’s Network. Their talking points are clear and easy to digest, without oversimplifying the complex relationship between the AIDS crisis and poverty.
Read it, remember it: the more we can articulate the ways in which HIV-positive people are set up to fail economically, the stronger the movement for economic and HIV prevention justice becomes.