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Campaigns Begin on AIDS Measure

Opponents and supporters launched their campaigns Wednesday on a newly qualified state ballot issue to redefine AIDS as an infectious illness.

At one news conference, Khushro Ghandhi, the initiative sponsor and a Lyndon LaRouche supporter, warned that opponents were planning to spread “wild rumors” about the measure.

At another press conference, gay-rights leaders and Los Angeles City Councilman Joel Wachs assailed the measure and forecast an all-out fight against “the LaRouchies.”

Also joining the opposition was Mayor Tom Bradley, who invited his Republican opponent, incumbent Gov. George Deukmejian, to “wage a joint campaign to defeat the measure.” Deukmejian’s office said the governor is studying the initiative.

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The opening salvos occurred as the initiative was officially certified for the Nov. 4 ballot. If it passes, AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, would be categorized with diseases such as measles and tuberculosis as highly contagious.

Public health officials would then be authorized to require testing of anyone suspected of being infected by the HTLV III virus that causes AIDS. Also, those infected would be barred from working in schools, restaurants and the health field. One feature of the measure could provide for quarantining AIDS victims until a cure is found.


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