WASHINGTON, D.C. December 1, 2017 – Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, issued the following statement in observance of World AIDS Day:
“On World AIDS Day, we pause to remember those we have lost to AIDS-related illness, and recommit ourselves to ending the HIV epidemic and combating HIV-related stigma,” said Peter Cruz, Associate Director of the HIV and Health Equity Program. “We must keep fighting back against the continued attacks by Donald Trump and Republican leadership on the Affordable Care Act and critical HIV and AIDS programs. Today and every day, HRC stands united against attempts to roll back our progress and believes we must do everything in our power to accelerate the pace of progress toward an AIDS-free generation.”
HIV continues to be a major public health crisis in the United States and around the world. Despite recent advances in prevention and treatment, tens of thousands of people contract HIV every year. In 2017, HIV and AIDS continue to disproportionately affect marginalized and under-resourced communities; at a time when the overall HIV infection rate has declined, it is still on the rise among Black and Latinx men who have sex with men, and transgender women.. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black and Latinx men who have sex with men, and transgender women have the highest HIV incidence rates in the United States.
According to UNAIDS, there were approximately 1.8 million individuals newly diagnosed with HIV globally in 2016. In an update to its 90-90-90 goals for 2020, UNAIDS reported that only 70 percent of people living with HIV globally have been diagnosed as of 2016. These statistics highlight the need for more accessible HIV programs and services, particularly in developing countries with limited medical resources.
Since the day Donald Trump and Mike Pence took office, they signaled that they are not focused on bringing an end to the HIV epidemic. On several occasions, the Trump-Pence administration has attempted to dismantle and undermine the Affordable Care Act — a move that would significantly reduce access to HIV medical treatment and biomedical interventions in communities that are disproportionately affected. The administration also put forward a reckless budget proposal that called for massive cuts to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, which could severely harm our nation’s ability to help LGBTQ communities and people living with HIV and AIDS abroad. Finally, almost a year into the administration, Trump has yet to name a Director to the Office of National AIDS Policy, a position tasked with leading our country’s national strategy to combat the HIV epidemic.
To mark World AIDS Day, HRC is also recognizing a few of our Global Innovators and Global Fellows who are working tirelessly on behalf of individuals living with and affected by HIV in their countries.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.