Task Force commemorates World AIDS Day

December 01, 2011


Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force commemorates World AIDS Day with a call for greater focus — including resources and public attention — toward combating the continuing epidemic of HIV/AIDS.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"We mark yet another World AIDS Day with a call for greater focus on combating this bitter epidemic, now in its third decade. We do this because it matters — the lives of all those affected matter, including the hardest hit among us: our gay and bisexual brothers, our transgender sisters, our young people, and communities of color, particularly black men and women. We do it because we still have no cure, and our nation still awaits more resources and less ignorance. We do it because today is not just a day to commemorate; it is a call to action — a call for resources to fund prevention, treatment, research and ancillary services. Our political leaders, faith communities — each of us — must recommit to working to end this disease once and for all. We thank and honor those who have dedicated their lives to this effort. We mourn those we have lost to this epidemic. We vow to keep pushing until HIV/AIDS is no more."

The Task Force urges Congress and Obama administration to act now

The Task Force is urging Congress and the Obama administration to address current needs for HIV/AIDS treatment and services. This includes increased funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, including the AIDS Drug Assistance Program; greater support for screening and prevention efforts, including routine HIV screening as part of the Affordable Care Act Essential Benefits Package; passage of the "Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal HIV Discrimination Act"; and the defunding of medically inaccurate and discriminatory abstinence-only-until-marriage programs to be replaced with funding for comprehensive, age-appropriate sex-education programs.

National survey shows transgender people at alarming risk of HIV infection

Earlier this year, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality released the groundbreaking study, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. It is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people, and paints a more complete picture than any prior research to date.

The study showed that transgender people are four times more likely than the general population to be HIV-positive. Respondents reporting even higher rates included the unemployed and those who had been compelled to do sex work for income.

One in four black transgender people reported being HIV-positive, along with one in 10 Latino/as, 7 percent of American Indians and 4 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans.

These numbers are startling but not surprising given data collected around rates of discrimination in medical care, sexual assault and employment discrimination: one in five transgender people have been refused medical treatment simply because of their gender identity/expression, and one in four have faced harassment or violence in a medical setting.

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund builds the grassroots political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Task Force Action Fund does this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation, and works to pass pro-LGBT legislation and other progressive initiatives. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the Task Force Action Fund are not tax-deductible.