December 01, 2004
Category: HIV & AIDS
HRC Releases World AIDS Day Report Card
'The failing grade in prevention means thousands of needlessly infected people,' said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign released a report card today reflecting the United States' response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic to mark World AIDS Day.
"The failing grade in prevention means thousands of needlessly infected people," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. "As we face a global pandemic, our response to it isn't making the grade."
The first annual report card rates the U.S. government's response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in four key areas: research, care and treatment, global AIDS and prevention.
"We need to aggressively pursue a coordinated and comprehensive approach to stop this pandemic," said Stachelberg. "We must harness all possible resources to prevent new infections, provide meaningful access to quality care and treatment, boost research to find a cure and address the global crisis. It is important to note that there are many leaders who have courageously and diligently championed HIV/AIDS issues. This report card does nothing to take away from the good work that they have done. Rather, this assessment shows that much critical work remains ahead for all of us."
There are still roughly 40,000 new infections each year in the United States. Federal funding still cannot be used for comprehensive sex education in schools, needle exchange programs and other scientifically-proven methods of preventing new infections. Candid information about prevention is far too sparse. Recent initiatives have shifted the prevention focus from "at risk" populations to those who are already infected, hampering funding for many minority-focused community-based organizations.
Care and Treatment: D
While new and innovative drugs are being developed and care is improving among some sectors, vast numbers of individuals living with HIV/AIDS have little or no access to care and treatment. Many states have waiting lists for, or have significantly limited access to, drugs through their AIDS Drug Assistance Programs and legislation to permit states to cover individuals living with HIV under Medicaid is stalled in Congress.
While necessary increases were provided to the National Institutes of Health for critical HIV/AIDS research over the past few years, these increases have slowed down. In addition, science-based research continues to be undermined, such as attempts to eliminate funding for individual NIH studies and to limit the number of government employees who can attend international research conferences.
Global AIDS: C
It is encouraging to see policymakers from both parties acknowledge the enormity of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the necessity of crafting and funding a global solution to this crisis. However, the results have failed to match the rhetoric. The United States has promised to generously fund global AIDS efforts yet has only committed a fraction of the funds that were promised. Moreover, contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have been reduced, and the United States is exporting unproven abstinence-only-until-marriage programs to
Africa when these programs are of questionable efficacy.
More information about HRC's work on HIV/AIDS can be found here.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.