July 13, 2010
New York, N.Y. -- Today, the Obama Administration announced the first-ever national strategy in the fight against HIV/AIDS -- a wide-ranging five-year plan to combat the epidemic in the United States.
Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director:
"More than thirty years into the epidemic, after years of advocacy by HIV/AIDS organizations, the Obama Administration is refocusing public attention on the HIV epidemic in the United States. This first-ever national HIV/AIDS strategy will establish a much-needed blueprint designed to reduce the number of people who become infected, increase access to care and decrease HIV-related health disparities.
"Discrimination against people living with HIV remains a serious problem that both marginalizes people living with HIV and poses barriers to treatment and care. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy recognizes the stigma associated with HIV and the persistent discrimination that still occurs, and that a need remains to strengthen enforcement of civil rights laws protecting people with HIV. We commend the administration for focusing attention on the need to address the discrimination faced by people living with HIV in the US.
"For decades, Lambda Legal has been in the courts fighting discrimination against people living with HIV. We won the first HIV discrimination lawsuit in the nation, and since then we have helped maintain or expand protections across the country for people living with HIV.
"The CDC estimates that more than 1 million people are living with HIV in the United States, and one in five of them is unaware of their infection. The epidemic is having a particularly serious impact on gay and bisexual men, as well as African-Americans. We are heartened by the White House's intent to direct more attention and resources to the epidemic and its hardest hit communities.
"The administration and HIV advocates on national and local levels now must work together to combat discrimination, bias and stigma; ensure access to treatment; and promote effective prevention policies. This plan is an important and long overdue first step, but it will only succeed with sufficient funding for treatment and education. We welcome the administration's dedication to that effort."