Take The Pledge: United To Fight HIV on National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Today, in support of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force with hundreds of organizations and individuals have signed onto a joint letter to re-engage with the broader LGBT community in the fight against HIV/AIDS. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men account for 63% of the new HIV infections in 2010. In fact, gay men are the only group in which HIV infections are increasing.

“We can’t have full LGBT equality and freedom without ending the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and advancing full access to testing and treatment,” said Rea Carey, Task Force executive director. “The majority of new infections occur in our community. In fact, HIV rates for young gay men of color are as high as they were in the 1980s — with trans people of color facing a rate four times the national average. The truth is we can create a near future without HIV/AIDS — but only if we do more now and continue to do more.”

“The LGBT Boomer generation was devastated by the AIDS epidemic. SAGE’s constituents lost more friends and loved ones than we can count,” says Michael Adams from SAGE (Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders). “Our hope for the next generation is to live in a world without AIDS. We can make this a reality, but it’s going to take all of us. Its time for the LGBT community to come back to the fight against HIV/AIDS, and SAGE is ready for that fight.”

“Thirty-plus years since the epidemic first hit, gay men still account for the highest rates of new HIV infections and our nation still hysterically criminalizes HIV status,” says Kate Kendell from National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). “We are now on the brink of ending the epidemic and bringing sanity to how we treat those who are positive, but only if our entire community gets engaged and involved.”

“Our Center has been fighting HIV since the beginning,” says Glennda Testone, Executive Director of the New York City LGBT Community Center.  “It’s time for us to remain focused and use what we have learned in the intervening years to continue this fight with renewed energy and vigor. This time we can end an epidemic.”

Excerpt from Joint Letter:

Over the last 30 years, the LGBT community has seen great strides in the movement for full equality. Much of this success is the result of a concerted movement, which was galvanized in response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. In the decades since, our movement has seen incredible victories… Unfortunately, our community hasn’t maintained the same momentum in our fight against HIV… Each day, more then 80 gay and bisexual men become infected with HIV in the United States… Despite these alarming statistics, which have galvanized our community in the past, the HIV epidemic has seemed to fall by the way side. Many in our community have simply stopped talking about the issue. This must change.