FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Contact: Lei Chou, Treatment Action Group
AIDS Advocates from Across the U.S. Call upon Presidential Candidates to Make Ending the Epidemic a Priority
Secretary Clinton’s mischaracterization of the Reagan Administration on Friday, March 11, sparked nationwide upset from HIV/AIDS advocates, service providers, people living with HIV, and loved ones of those lost to the epidemic. But it also has created an opportunity to bring HIV/AIDS to the forefront of the conversation during this campaign season.
A group of 70 advocates, including high-level staff at some of the most powerful AIDS service organizations and advocacy groups in the country, have signed onto a letter urging Secretary Clinton to appoint an HIV advisor to her campaign, to meet with HIV community leadership, announce a commitment to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States by 2025, and support ending the global AIDS pandemic.
“The next Administration has the opportunity – and we believe, the obligation – to set the U.S. on the road to ending the domestic AIDS epidemic by 2025, and the global epidemic by 2030,” said Mark Harrington, Executive Director of Treatment Action Group (TAG).
“Secretary Clinton’s mischaracterization of the Reagan Administration was deeply hurtful, especially to those of us who advocated for our dying loved ones during that time. But now we have an opportunity to challenge all of the presidential candidates to publicly announce their commitments to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S,” said longtime activist Peter Staley, co-founder of Treatment Action Group.
“Tremendous strides have been made since the 1980s. With today’s advancements in testing, treatment, and prevention, including PrEP, the once-a-day pill that has 99% effectiveness in keeping those most at risk for HIV transmission negative, we can effectively end the epidemic, even without a cure. This is a social justice issue. To end AIDS, we need to expand access to care for all people regardless of socioeconomic status or geography,” said Charles King, President and CEO of Housing Works, one of the largest community-based AIDS service and advocacy organizations in the country.
Clinton’s political record reflects a commitment to HIV/AIDS, and most notably, she was first to publicly set the global goal of an “AIDS-free generation” during her remarks at the National Institutes of Health in 2011.
The letter was delivered to Clinton Campaign Headquarters on Tuesday, March 15, and the signers of the letter look forward to a response and productive dialogue. Similar letters are being delivered to all of the 2016 presidential candidates.