Marking World AIDS Day 2009
Director of Communications
"Our calendars mark this as World AIDS Day, but our clocks tick tick tick away the minutes that mark another infection, another life changed forever, another personal struggle to thrive getting under way. On this World AIDS Day, more than 150 people in the U.S. will contract the virus. For all the progress that we have made, it isn't yet enough."
— Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 — On this World AIDS Day, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force calls for a more robust federal response to combat the ongoing scourge of HIV/AIDS.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
"World AIDS Day 2009 dawns with signs of hope that our federal response to the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic will move forward with dedication to ending this crisis. We can be encouraged that President Obama has lifted the discriminatory ban on travel and immigration to the United States by HIV-positive individuals. The recent signing of the reauthorization of the Ryan White HIV Treatment Act also ensures that life-saving care and services will continue to be available to people living with HIV/AIDS. The administration is currently engaged in a national town hall meeting tour, taking testimony from people about what will make for an effective National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The House version of the health care reform bill includes provisions to make people with HIV eligible for Medicaid coverage earlier in their illness and it prohibits discrimination in health care based on 'personal characteristics' like sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. All of this is good medicine for our communities that we welcome. Yet, the clock ticks and there remains much to be done.
"On this day, we know that young gay and bisexual men of color remain extraordinarily vulnerable to contracting the virus, as are transgender and African-American women. AIDS impacts black men who have sex with men at rates similar to those in sub-Saharan African countries. In addition to treatment access and the lifting of the HIV travel ban, we also need prevention education that specifically targets our most vulnerable people. We need comprehensive sexuality education that shows and tells us how to protect ourselves against infection. We need a funded public education campaign to combat the discrimination and stigma experienced by those who seek testing and treatment. We need federal funding for syringe exchange programs. And yes, we still need a coordinated national strategy to identify initiatives and approaches to end the epidemic.
"According to the CDC, every 9 1/2 minutes someone contracts HIV in the United States. Our calendars mark this as World AIDS Day, but our clocks tick tick tick away the minutes that mark another infection, another life changed forever, another personal struggle to thrive getting under way. On this World AIDS Day, more than 150 people in the U.S. will contract the virus. For all the progress that we have made, it isn't yet enough."
To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.
The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.
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