Donald Trump has issued the final World AIDS Day statement of his presidency, and for the fourth year running he makes no mention whatsoever of LGBT+ victims of the AIDS crisis.
The proclamation issued in Donald Trump’s name on Tuesday (1 December) notes that “this deadly disease disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities” but entirely failed to mention the impact on gay and bisexual men, who make up 69 per cent of all HIV diagnoses in the US, and also made up the overwhelming majority of victims of the AIDS crisis.
The US president has made similar proclamations on the three other World AIDS Days he has been in office, and he also failed to mention LGBT+ people on all of those occasions.
Donald Trump ignores LGBT+ people in World AIDS Day message
The statement reads: “Today, our nation joins millions across the globe in remembrance of the precious lives lost to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) -related illnesses, and we reaffirm our support for those living with these diseases.
“Thankfully, decades of remarkable advancements and improved understanding have put us within reach of ending its devastating impact. Through increased awareness, revolutionary prevention strategies, and safe and effective treatment regimens, we will soon end the AIDS epidemic once and for all.
“Over the past 40 years, HIV and AIDS have infected more than 77 million people worldwide and claimed no less than 35 million lives, including those of 700,000 Americans. Currently, there are approximately 1.2 million people living in the United States with HIV, including roughly 170,000 people who have not been diagnosed.
“Additionally, it is all too clear that this deadly disease disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities.”
The statement adds: “Through these and other initiatives we are bringing to a close a painful chapter in human history. For the past many decades, HIV and AIDS have inflicted untold suffering on millions of people both here at home and abroad. But by the end of this decade, we will have eliminated this scourge from our country and released much of the rest of world from its deadly grip.”
HIV/AIDS policy has suffered significantly under the Trump administration, with the president shuttering the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, dismissing all the members of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and allegedly draining funding from an HIV/AIDS budget to pay for child migrant detention.
In 2017, recordings emerged from 1997 of Donald Trump joking about forcing Princess Diana to take an HIV test before having sex with her. Meanwhile, a book has claimed that Trump once got his luxury Mar-a-Lago club fumigated after a visit from HIV-positive Republican fixer Roy Cohn.
Joe Biden pledges action on HIV/AIDS
In an LGBT+ action plan issued ahead of the election, president-elect Joe Biden made a raft of promises on HIV, pledging to guarantee the Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination protections to stop insurance companies from “increasing premiums or denying coverage altogether due to someone’s HIV status”.
The plan pledged LGBT+ people will get “full access to all appropriate health care treatments and resources”, adding: “Biden will ensure that federal health plans provide coverage for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)—lifesaving, highly effective HIV prevention medications.
“Biden has fought for access to treatment for people with HIV/AIDS and funding for HIV/AIDS research, and he helped pass and expand the Global AIDS program (PEPFAR). As president, he will re-commit to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2025.
“Biden will update and implement the nation’s comprehensive HIV/AIDS strategy, first launched by the Obama-Biden Administration. This strategy will aggressively reduce new HIV cases, while increasing access to treatment and eliminating inequitable access to services and supports.”