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35 LGBT Executive Directors Mark Pride With Statement on HIV

By Paul Kawata

June 3, 2013

35 LGBT Executive Directors Mark Pride With Statement on HIV
Today, as the nation marks the opening of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, myself and 34 other executive directors of LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations from across the United States have released a joint letter and accompanying video committing themselves and their organizations to re-engaging the broader LGBT community in the fight against HIV. While issues like marriage equality and employment protections for LGBT workers have taken center stage, HIV continues to ravage the LGBT community. Despite making up just two percent of the population, gay and bisexual men accounted for more than 63% of new HIV infections in 2010. In fact, gay men are the only group in which HIV infections are increasing.

We are at an important crossroads in our fight against HIV. The evidence behind treatment as prevention, and expansions in health care coverage that will accompany implementation of the Affordable Care Act, have provided a unique opportunity to end this epidemic, which has ravaged our community for more than three decades. But this will not happen without the full engagement of those most impacted by the disease, and no community has been more heavily affected than the LGBT community. I am thrilled to be a part of this campaign to re-energize the LGBT response and work together to realize the vision of an AIDS-free generation.

Below is an excerpt from today's joint statement:

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 than 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.

The entire letter and accompanying video can be viewed online here: www.wethelgbt.org.

Paul Kawata is the executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council.




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