HRC has joined Treatment Access Group (TAG) and other HIV advocates and organizations to call on the Peace Corps to revise its policies regarding volunteers who are newly diagnosed with HIV. According to recent media reports, two Peace Corps volunteers were informed that their assignments would be terminated as a result of their recent HIV diagnosis. Worryingly, reports have also emerged of Peace Corps officials denying volunteers’ requests for PrEP, also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, a once-daily pill used to prevent HIV.
“These policies are outdated and harmful to Peace Corps volunteers living with HIV or seeking effective prevention tools," said Peter Cruz, associate director of HRC’s HIV and Health Equity Program. "We join fellow HIV advocates in asking the Peace Corps to act quickly to modernize their HIV policies and practices."
Recent advances in HIV treatment and prevention have brought us closer than ever to ending the HIV epidemic. Today, we know that people living with HIV who adhere to antiretroviral therapy and maintain viral suppression have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their partners. Additionally, the CDC states that the use of PrEP reduces the risk of acquiring HIV from sex by more than 90 percent, and by more than 70 percent among people who inject drugs.
HRC joins TAG and other advocates in urging the Peace Corps to update its HIV and AIDS policies to ensure that they align with current HIV science and information.
To read the sign-on letter to Peace Corps, click here.
For more information on HRC Foundation’s work to end HIV and HIV-related stigma, click here.