To Surprise of No One, White House Forgets LGBTQ People on World AIDS Day

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November 30, 2017
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Photo by: Elvert Barnes

Today, the President issued a World AIDS Day Proclamation.

You can read it for yourself here. Buckle up.

Just this past June, Lambda Legal's HIV Project Director Scott Schoettes, along with five other members, resigned from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). Their reason? This administration “simply does not care” about HIV.

In reaction to today’s proclamation, Schoettes issues the following statement:

Given President’s Trump lack of a substantive plan or strategy for addressing the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, his inability to even make an informed statement about it is extremely disappointing, though not surprising. 

Not only did the White House statement on World AIDS Day fail to mention the population in which two-thirds of HIV cases in the U.S. occur—gay and bisexual men—it also failed to point out the disproportionate impact in communities of color, for gay and bisexual men of color, particularly young men of color, or for transgender women. 

It is estimated that at current rates, one in two Black gay and bisexual men in this country will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. That is an appalling statistic that we cannot paper over with platitudes. Simply put, HIV affects people in some communities more than others, and our federal government cannot turn a blind eye to that. 

Neither the president nor the Republican members of Congress care about people living with or at higher risk for HIV. That is evident in the tax bill they are pushing this World AIDS Day, which includes an effort to hobble the ACA through elimination of the ACA’s individual mandate and will lead to cuts in funding for lifesaving HIV care and prevention programs like Ryan White and Medicaid.

The White House’s utter failure to take HIV/AIDS seriously is potentially disastrous. Prayers are good, but we need much more than prayers from this White House to solve the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.

HIV, World AIDS Day, HIV