AIDS Activist from Across the U.S. Call upon Presidential Candidates to Make Ending the Epidemic A Priority
One positive thing did come out of Hillary Rodham Clintons disastrous rewriting of gay history when she claimed that Nancy and Ronald Reagan “stated the national conversation about AIDS”. One is that it the real truth about the Reagans callousness and ignoring of a disease that killed over 200,000 gay men during his Presidency was finally brought to light on a national level. And the second was the emergence of priority calls to find a cure for the epidemic that continues to this day 35 years later without an end in sight.
AIDS Advocates from Across the U.S. Call upon Presidential Candidates to Make Ending the Epidemic Priority
Secretary Clinton’s mischaracterization of the Reagan Administration on Friday, March 11, sparked nationwide upset from HIV/AIDS advocates, service providers, people living with HIV, and loved ones of those lost to the epidemic. But it also has created an opportunity to bring HIV/AIDS to the forefront of the conversation during this campaign season.
A group of 70 advocates, including high-level staff at some of the most powerful AIDS service organizations and advocacy groups in the country, have signed onto a letter [attached -rw] urging Secretary Clinton to appoint an HIV advisor to her campaign, to meet with HIV community leadership, announce a commitment to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States by 2025, and support ending the global AIDS pandemic.
“Secretary Clinton’s mischaracterization of the Reagan Administration was deeply hurtful, especially to those of us who advocated for our dying loved ones during that time. But now we have an opportunity to challenge all of the presidential candidates to publicly announce their commitments to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S,” said longtime activist Peter Staley, co-founder of Treatment Action Group.
“Tremendous strides have been made since the 1980s. With today’s advancements in testing, treatment, and prevention, including PrEP, the once-a-day pill that has 99% effectiveness in keeping those most at risk for HIV transmission negative, we can effectively end the epidemic, even without a cure. This is a social justice issue. To end AIDS, we need to expand access to care for all people regardless of socioeconomic status or geography,” said Charles King, President and CEO of Housing Works, one of the largest community-based AIDS service and advocacy organizations in the country.
Clinton’s political record reflects a commitment to HIV/AIDS, and most notably, she was first to publicly set the global goal of an “AIDS-free generation” during her remarks at the National Institutes of Health in 2011.
The letter was delivered to Clinton Campaign Headquarters on Tuesday, March 15, and the signers of the letter look forward to a response and productive dialogue. Similar letters are being delivered to all of the 2016 presidential candidates.
Jose Abrigo, Staff Attorney, LGBTQ/HIV Advocacy Project, Queens Legal Services
ACT UP New York
African Services Committee
AIDS Action Baltimore
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Albany Damien Center
John Barry, LMSW, Executive Director, Southern Tier AIDS Program
Bronx Parent Housing Network
Reginald T. Brown, M. Ed., Unity Fellowship of Christ Church, VOCAL-NY Community Leader
Central New York HIV Care Network Coalition for Homeless Youth
JD Davids, TheBody.com
Sharen I. Duke, Executive Director and CEO, AIDS Service Center NYC (ASCNYC)
Sergio Farfan, Louisiana Latino Health Coalition for HIV/AIDS
Ingrid Floyd, Executive Director, Iris House
Miasha Forbes, Human Rights Activist and Founder, Just for Us: Gender Diversity Project
Hispanic Health Network
HIV Prevention Justice Alliance
Brian Hujdich, Pozitively Health Coalition
Human Rights Campaign
Hyacinth AIDS Foundation
Carine Jocelyn, CEO, Diaspora Community Services, Brooklyn, NY
Marsha Jones, the Afiya Center
Howard Josepher, LCSW, President & CEO, Exponents
Jacquelyn Kilmer, CEO, Harlem United
Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn
Latino Commission on AIDS
Latinos in the Deep South
LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York
Matthew McMorrow, former Director of Government Affairs, Empire State Pride Agenda
David Ernesto Munar, CEO, Howard Brown Health
National Black Justice Coalition
National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS
NMAC (formerly known as the National Minority AIDS Council)
OASIS-Latino LGBTS Wellness Center
Chuck Peterson, Executive Director, Clare Housing, Minneapolis, MN
Michael Emanuel Rajner, Wilton Manors, FL
Kyle Rapinon, Esq., Director of Survival and Self-Determination, Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Elana Redfield, Attorney and LGBTQI Activist
Dr. Margaret S. Reneau, Director of Programs, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS
Eric Sawyer, Founding Member—ACT UP, Co-Founder Housing Works, Inc. & Health GAP, Inc.
Virginia Shubert, Shubert Botein Policy Associates
Southern Tier AIDS Program
Rev. Moonhawk River Stone, M.S., LMHC, RiverStone Consulting, Schenectady, NY
Daniel W. Tietz, Chief Special Services Officer, NYC Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services
Treatment Action Group
Peter Twyman, CEO, Keep a Child Alive
Andrew Velez, ACT UP New York
Tom Viola, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
VOCAL New York
Washington Heights CORNER Project
David W. Webber, Attorney
John Wikiera, Central NY HIV Care Network
Terri L. Wilder, MSW
Doug Wirth, President/CEO, Amida Care
Young Black Gay Leadership Initiative (YBGLI)