The Black AIDS Institute released a report today, January 2, analyzing the 2008 U.S. presidential candidates’ responses to the black AIDS epidemic. The report, titled We Demand Accountability: The 2008 Presidential Elections and the Black AIDS Epidemic, is the first in a series of political briefs that the organization plans to release. The group hopes to encourage black Americans to hold elected officials responsible for helping to end the AIDS epidemic in the black community.

“Ending AIDS is about leadership—personal, professional and political leadership,” said Phill Wilson, the institute’s chief executive officer, in a statement accompanying the report. “We have aggressively called upon Black America to take responsibility for our own health and that of our communities. And part of that responsibility is insisting that our elected officials also do their part to help us end this epidemic.”

In October 2007, the institute sent surveys to a total of 16 Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. The report summarizes the candidates’ positions on various topics surrounding HIV/AIDS based on those questionnaires, as well as previously published statements and platforms.

The report found stark differences among the Democratic and Republican responses. According to the report, all eight Democratic candidates surveyed have publicly responded to many of the core questions on the survey; however, the report says there have been limited responses from the Republican candidates. Also, the institute highlights key differences in the details of the Democratic candidates’ responses to the epidemic, such as Senator Barack Obama’s record on encouraging HIV testing in the black community, or Senator Hillary Clinton’s forceful commitment to working with black faith leaders to end the epidemic.

The full report is available online at