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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 5, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 49
Remarks on World AIDS Day
Section One
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Remarks on World AIDS Day

President Obama's Proclamation on World AIDS Day

'Guided by our National HIV/AIDS Strategy, we are working to build a society where every person has access to life-extending care, regardless of who they are or whom they love. The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition, such as HIV/AIDS, and requires that most health plans cover HIV screenings without copays for everyone ages 15 to 65 and others at increased risk. We have expanded opportunities for groundbreaking research, and we continue to invest in innovation to develop a vaccine and find a cure. And this summer, my Administration held a series of listening sessions across the country to better understand the successes and challenges of those fighting HIV at the local and state level.

'In the face of a disease that extends far beyond our borders, the United States remains committed to leading the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS and ensuring no one is left behind. Hundreds of thousands of adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV every year, and we are working to reach and assist them and every community in need. As part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, over 7 million people with HIV around the globe are receiving antiretroviral treatment, a four-fold increase since the start of my Administration. In countries throughout the world, our initiatives are improving the lives of women and girls, accelerating life-saving treatment for children, and supporting healthy, robust communities.

'As a Nation, we have made an unwavering commitment to bend the curve of the HIV epidemic, and the progress we have seen is the result of countless people who have shared their stories, lent their strength, and led the fight to spare others the anguish of this disease. Today, we remember all those who lost their battle with HIV/AIDS, and we recognize those who agitated and organized in their memory. On this day, let us rededicate ourselves to continuing our work until we reach the day we know is possible - when no child has to know the pain of HIV/AIDS and no life is limited by this virus. Now, therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States do hereby proclaim December 1, 2014, as World AIDS Day.'

Courtesy of The White House



Cleve Jones on World AIDS Day

NAMES Project founder Cleve Jones was interviewed for a World AIDS Day article about The Last One, a documentary on the AIDS Quilt now airing on Showtime.

An excerpt:
'HIV is increasingly a disease of the marginalized populations. Poverty is part of it. Drug use is part of it. Also to a very large extent stigma remains one of our greatest obstacles. In the early days of the pandemic the stigma of homosexuality was really what kept the government, our government and many others from responding. It fueled the hysteria and created many obstacles. Well, the stigma has not gone away. It's changed though. Young people today, the stigma that they experience comes from their own people. From my generation the stigma came from the outside world and really was the stigma against homosexuality. For these young people today though they are being blamed and shamed. It discourages them from getting tested; it discourages them from talking openly about their status. There's a new study that shows that almost half of Gay men do not reveal their sexual orientation to their own physicians. I think that right there was a pretty startling fact. If half of Gay men in the United States don't feel comfortable revealing their sexual orientation to their physicians, we have a real problem.'



Lambda Legal: End HIV Criminalization

On World AIDS Day 2014, Lambda Legal urges those tasked with enforcing U.S. criminal law - from governors to prosecutors to police detectives - to halt the criminal prosecution of people based on their HIV status, thereby assisting efforts to combat the misconceptions, fear, stereotypes, discrimination and stigma faced by people living with HIV that fuel the epidemic in the U.S. and around the world.

HIV criminalization is a striking example of how misinformation, stereotypes and unfounded fears affect people living with HIV and of the government engaging in discrimination that perpetuates these stigmatizing messages. Imposing unjustified and unnecessary criminal prohibitions on people with HIV has led to a society where people are - among other forms of oppression - imprisoned, classified as felons and forced to register as sex offenders, based on outdated and inaccurate information regarding HIV.

We have not come nearly far enough in educating the public about HIV and in reducing stigma and discrimination. Fear and ignorance about HIV and discrimination against people living with HIV remains a serious problem that both marginalizes people and poses barriers to treatment and care.

Lambda Legal remains committed to securing equal protection and equal rights for this community - because living with HIV is not a crime. Lambda Legal's commitment to fighting HIV and AIDS stigma and discrimination began more than twenty-five years ago in 1983 when we filed the nation's first challenge to AIDS discrimination and helped secure a court order stopping the efforts of neighbors to evict a doctor from his offices because he treated HIV-positive patients.

That commitment remains strong today. People living with HIV have a right to work and live free from discrimination, and laws, policies and other governmental actions should be based on sound science rather than fear and bias.

Courtesy of Lambda Legal

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