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Mr. President, for World Aids Day, the National LGBTQ Task Force Would Like to Give You an Education on HIV

Panels of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt spread across the National Mall

Looking at President Donald Trump’s proclamation for World AIDS Day, one might think HIV was not an issue for people of color or the LGBTQ community since the president’s statement did not mention either. Perhaps the president forgot or didn’t know any better, so we at the Task Force would like to give the president a much-needed education on HIV:

President Trump, LGBTQ people and people of color exist, and too many of us live with HIV: Mr. Presidentyou mention that “as of 2014, 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV,” but you seemed not to acknowledge that 56 percent of those living with HIV in the United States are gay or bisexual men, or that people of color are at increased risk of becoming HIV positive, or that transgender people are almost five times more likely to be living with HIV.

President Trump, LGBTQ people of color exist and are at an increased risk of living with HIV: Mr. President, you seem not to acknowledge that LGBTQ people of color exist or have unique needs when it comes to living with HIV. While new infections among white gay and bisexual men have declined, new infections among gay and bisexual men of color have not, and the rate of new infections has increased by 14 percent among Latino gay and bisexual men. We suggest you look at your own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to learn that black gay and bisexual men are at higher risk of becoming HIV positive. By ignoring LGBTQ people and people of color, you are ignoring LGBTQ people of color twice over. At a time when nearly one out of every five Black transgender women is living with HIV, this silence cannot continue.

President Trump, we understand having the math add up isn’t your thing, but you can’t reduce HIV infections by cutting aid to people living with HIV: Mr. President, you state you “reaffirm our commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat,” but you seem not to have noticed that the budget you proposed last spring would cut $59 million in funding for the Ryan White Health Care Act — Mr. President that’s a federal program that assists people in the United States living with HIV. To end the epidemic, funding must be increased, not decreased.

Perhaps if President Trump took less time tweeting and more time doing his job, we wouldn’t have to educate him. But since the president took today, a day meant for healing and remembrance of those we have lost and neglected the experiences of people of color and LGBTQ people, we felt a lesson was necessary.