Few believe there is the kind of energy, leadership, money and political will in the current political climate to fix the situation in the community that has fallen through the cracks for so long. And experts in the field have grown increasingly worried about the new administration’s commitment to fighting the disease. Soon after President Trump’s inauguration, the web page of the Office of National AIDS Policy, the architect of the National H.I.V./AIDS Strategy, was disabled on the White House website. The president’s proposed budget includes a $186 million cut in the C.D.C.’s funding for H.I.V./AIDS prevention, testing and support services. The congressional fight over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and the president’s declarations that “Obamacare is dead,” have conjured a disastrous return to even more alarming conditions, like waiting lists for medication. As recently as 2011, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program state-by-state list of people waiting for H.I.V. medication ballooned to over 9,000 people, mostly poor black and brown men in Southern states. “The key to ending the AIDS epidemic requires people to have either therapeutic or preventive treatments, so repealing the A.C.A. means that any momentum we have is dead on arrival,” said Phill Wilson, chief executive and president of the Black AIDS Institute, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit. “For the most vulnerable, do we end up back in a time when people had only emergency care or no care and were literally dying on the streets? We don’t know yet, but we have to think about it.” Benjamin Jennings. Ruddy Roye for The New York Times
8/12/2020 America’s Hidden H.I.V. Epidemic - The New York Times 6/14 June Gipson, president and chief executive of My Brother’s Keeper, the Jackson nonprofit Cedric Sturdevant works for, believes that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t have an immediate catastrophic effect in her state — but only because things are already so dire. Like most of the South, Mississippi refused Medicaid expansion, and nearly half of its citizens who are living with H.I.V. rely on the Ryan White H.I.V./AIDS Program to stay alive. Named for an Indiana teenager who contracted H.I.V. through a blood transfusion in the ’80s, this federal program provides funding for H.I.V. treatment and care for those who have no other way to finance their medication. If the A.C.A. is repealed, Gipson said, “it just means that the entire country becomes Mississippi.” For nearly two decades, the United States has focused money and attention on the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic elsewhere. Barbara Lee, the longtime United States representative from Northern California, has signed her name as a sponsor to every piece of major federal H.I.V./AIDS legislation since she was first elected in 1998. In 2003, she was a co-author of legislation that led to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar). The five-year, $15 billion global strategy provided prevention, treatment and care services to the countries most affected by the disease, almost exclusively in Africa. The largest international health initiative in history to fight a single disease,
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 14 pages?