Politics

Today is World AIDS Day. The Trump Administration is erasing LGBTQ people – but we won’t

Today is World AIDS Day. The Trump Administration is erasing LGBTQ people – but we won’t
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Today is the 31st annual World AIDS Day, as observed by the World Health Organization, United Nations and all its member states. “It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness,” according to the National AIDS Trust.

Since AIDS (which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) was first recognized in 1981, LGBTQ people have overwhelmingly succumbed to the disease, and several HIV/AIDS activists have fought for both people with the disease and people at risk of getting HIV (which stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus) to be recognized humanely.

Related: HIV diagnoses drop drastically across New York City, undetectable designations increase

Yet, the current administration in the United States, where much of the advancement on battling the virus and disease, has gone to lengths to erase the recognition of LGBTQ people that have gotten us this far. As reported by PinkNews, the Trump Administration’s language and material around HIV/AIDS and World AIDS Day has intentionally excluded the mention of anyone or anything queer – for the third year in a row.

Trump’s team has to go out of its way to remove all mention of LGBTQ people, as they use similar wording in all of their material for public media and websites based off of its predecessor – the Obama Administration, who specifically included a mention of LGBTQ people and activists each World AIDS Day.

In contrast, Trump’s administration – which includes Vice President Mike Pence, who has pledged to remove HIV/AIDS funding since 2000, and followed through – have fired the entirety of the President’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Board and specifically targeted transgender people with various policies, such as banning them from serving in the military.

Luckily – in spite of the administration, and those who align with them – HIV/AIDS prevention continues to thrive, and HIV-positive people are able to sustain healthy lives and careers like anyone else. While ignorance still thrives – with nearly 30% of people saying they wouldn’t even hug a positive person – millions of activists and advocates around the world continue the fight to protect positive people and educate others.

If you want to honor people like this and more, please go and get tested. Knowing your status is the first and most essential part of HIV/AIDS prevention.

Here’s how several people are recognizing today, starting with politicians – such as Elizabeth Warren, who publish an opinion piece in CNN.

Here’s some words from organizations around the world, including ACT UP, a coalition of activists who published declarations in a commentary article in The Advocate:

And last, but far from least – take notes from activists and advocates (including some celebrities), along with positive people or the loved ones of people with AIDS.

View this post on Instagram

It’s #worldaidsday 💗 Being able to write about my HIV status was hugely scary but even scarier is the continued lack of knowledge & understanding around HIV. Thank god for people like @jimmykimmellive who allowed me to come and talk about living with HIV, what undetectable = untransmitable means, and how important a role @plannedparenthood played in my journey to health & happiness. Take some time to educate yourself on what HIV+ people living in poverty have to go through to get treatment. Do you know what PREP is? Do you know the fastest growing group of newly infected HIV+ people are? The time for silence is over. #endhivstigma For the full interview- please head over to @jimmykimmellive YouTube channel 🏳️‍🌈

A post shared by Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) on

 

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