Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day.
Writes the United Nations: ‘The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Communities make the difference”. The commemoration of World AIDS Day, which will take place on 1 December 2019, is an important opportunity to recognize the essential role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels. Communities contribute to the AIDS response in many different ways. Their leadership and advocacy ensure that the response remains relevant and grounded, keeping people at the centre and leaving no one behind. Communities include peer educators, networks of people living with or affected by HIV, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and sex workers, women and young people, counsellors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organizations and grass-roots activists. World AIDS Day offers an important platform to highlight the role of communities at a time when reduced funding and a shrinking space for civil society are putting the sustainability of services and advocacy efforts in jeopardy. Greater mobilization of communities is urgently required to address the barriers that stop communities delivering services, including restrictions on registration and an absence of social contracting modalities. The strong advocacy role played by communities is needed more than ever to ensure that AIDS remains on the political agenda, that human rights are respected and that decision-makers and implementers are held accountable.’
The DNC blasted Trump’s attacks on AIDS infrastructure: “World AIDS Day provides us the opportunity to support those living with HIV, unite in the fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and mourn those we’ve lost. Today, we’re thinking about all the progress we’ve made, and the work still before us. This president is no ally of people living with HIV, who are disproportionately LGBTQ and people of color. His administration has proposed cutting global HIV-prevention programs and attacked health care services that people living with HIV rely on, including the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Planned Parenthood. Just last month, we saw firsthand just how uninformed and callous the Trump orbit can be through Donald Trump Jr.’s despicable attack on people living with HIV. Democrats are committed to ending the stigma and the epidemic. This year, House Democrats passed bills to lower prescription drug costs and protect access to the health care that those living with HIV deserve. And Democrats fought to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act and to ensure it protects against discrimination based on HIV/AIDS status or perceived status, and of caregivers of people living with this disease. We stand in solidarity with those living with HIV and AIDS in America and around the world.”
The ACLU urges the decriminalization of sex work: “Transgender people are criminalized for our bodies. We are profiled, stereotyped, and presumed guilty based on the way we look or for failing to meet gender expectations, and it must stop. Nearly one in six transgender people has been incarcerated. For trans people of color, the number is one in two. It’s staggering, and it demonstrates the deep bias in our current laws and criminal justice system. This World AIDS Day, let’s not forget that transgender women — particularly trans women of color — are also more likely to be living with HIV than cisgender people. The fight for trans justice cannot be separated from the work to reduce new transmission and provide care to those who are living with HIV, while ending stigma and criminalization for having HIV. To win this fight, we must decriminalize sex work.”
And in an op-ed in The Advocate, ACT UP calls for education and 21st Century policy and prevention strategies, decriminalization of sex work and drug use as public health policy, ending greed and apathy to bring new, effective, novel and accessible treatment, housing, care, and a cure, treating those who are aging with HIV, and more.
Here are some of the messages you need to hear this year which include a CBS This Morning segment on Ruth Coker Burks, and messages from ACT UP, Elton John, Tim Cook, Bill Gates, the UK’s Terrence Higgins Trust, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Brian Sims, and more: