Donald Trump’s first World AIDS Day proclamation claiming to “reaffirm our ongoing commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat” completely omits groups at most risk of HIV infection, including LGBTQ people and black Americans. The Huffington Post:
The omissions are perhaps more startling when given the statistics: In 2015, 48 percent of those diagnosed with AIDS in the U.S. were African-Americans. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control found that gay and bisexual men made an an estimated 70 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S. Though data on the transgender community is limited, the CDC also found that an estimated 22 percent of all trans women are HIV positive.
Trump’s statement referenced “tens of thousands of Americans” who are infected each year, but otherwise steered clear of specifics. He did, however, highlight “adolescent girls and young women in some sub-Saharan African countries.
As Think Progress noted, there’s still no appointed director of AIDS Policy “nor is there anyone in an acting director role,” and the website of the Office of National AIDS Policy is completely blank. Some commitment. Former Barack Obama’s final World AIDS Day statement as president, for comparison:
“In the United States, more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV,” Obama wrote. “Gay and bisexual men, transgender people, youth, black and Latino Americans, people living in the Southern United States, and people who inject drugs are at a disproportionate risk.”
“On this day,” reads Trump’s statement, “we pray for all those living with HIV, and those who have lost loved ones to AIDS. As we remember those who have died and those who are suffering, we commend the immense effort people have made to control and end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.” One minor problem: Trump’s 2018 budget proposed slashing PEPFAR’s budget by $1 billion.
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