June 5, 2013
In observance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, the executive directors of 35 LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations across the nation released a letter committing to re-engage the LGBT community in fighting HIV. The letter stated that although HIV was a catalyst in the 1980s for concerted action to establish social equality for the LGBT community, recent efforts have focused on marriage equality and employment protections.
However, HIV has continued to affect the LGBT community disproportionately. According to the joint letter, 63 percent of new HIV infections occur among gay and bisexual men, who represent only 2 percent of the population. In fact, gay men are the only group for whom HIV/AIDS incidence continues to increase. Each day, the United States sees more than 80 new HIV cases among gay and bisexual men.
National Minority AIDS Council Executive Director Paul Kawata emphasized two factors that present a "unique opportunity" to re-engage the broader LGBT community in HIV/AIDS activism: HIV/AIDS treatment as prevention and greater access to care thanks to the Affordable Care Act. National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell stated that it is possible for the next generation of LGBT young people to "grow up free from HIV/AIDS." Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal, urged the LGBT community to re-engage in HIV/AIDS efforts because they have seen the results of laws that criminalize HIV-infected people.