November 30, 2017 at 4:31 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Trump’s World AIDS Day proclamation leaves out LGBT people
transgender military ban, gay news, Washington Blade

President Trump left out LGBT people in his World AIDS Day Proclamation. (Photo by Michael Vadon; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

President Trump’s first-ever proclamation for World AIDS Day calls for eradication of the disease “as a public health threat,” but leaves out enumeration of marginalized groups — such as LGBT people — who are most affected by the epidemic.

Trump issued the proclamation on Thursday on the day before World AIDS Day, which many HIV/AIDS advocates observe to draw attention to the disease. An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV/AIDS and 36.7 million people across the globe.

For the first time, Trump says his administration is committed to ending the HIV/AIDS across the globe — a pledge his predecessors in the White House have made, but Trump hadn’t taken until now.

“Today, on World AIDS Day, we honor those who have lost their lives to AIDS, we celebrate the remarkable progress we have made in combatting this disease, and we reaffirm our ongoing commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat,” Trump writes.

Consistent with his use of faith in public announcements, Trump invokes the use of prayer to draw attention to those who’ve died of HIV/AIDS.

“On this day, we pray for all those living with HIV, and those who have lost loved ones to AIDS,” Trump writes.

Trump hails the success of public-private partnerships in HIV prevention and treatment as well as President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a plan to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic globally.

“Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and its data-driven investments in partnership with more than 50 countries, we are supporting more than 13.3 million people with lifesaving antiretroviral treatment,” Trump says. “We remain deeply committed to supporting adolescent girls and young women through this program, who are up to 14 times more likely to contract HIV than young men in some sub-Saharan African countries.”

Im the future, Trump pledges to continue to invest in testing strategies “to help people who are unaware they are living with HIV learn their status” and to implement the recent PEPFAR Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control, which seeks to guide investments in more than 50 countries to control the epidemic

“Due to America’s leadership and private sector philanthropy and innovation, we have saved and improved millions of lives and shifted the HIV/AIDS epidemic from crisis toward control,” Trump says. “We are proud to continue our work with many partners, including governments, private-sector companies, philanthropic organizations, multilateral institutions, civil society and faith-based organizations, people living with HIV, and many others.”

But the proclamation lacks explicit inclusion of marginalized groups whom HIV/AIDS most affects, such as LGBT people. According to the Centers for Disease Control, gay and bisexual men make up an estimated 70 percent of new HIV infections in the United States. Although transgender specific-data is limited, an estimated 22 percent of all transgender women have HIV.

In contrast to Trump’s proclamation, Obama’s proclamation in 2016 spells out LGBT people are among the individuals who are at highest risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

“In the United States, more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV,” Obama wrote. “Gay and bisexual men, transgender people, youth, black and Latino Americans, people living in the Southern United States, and people who inject drugs are at a disproportionate risk.”

Trump didn’t have an explicit plan to combat HIV/AIDS during his presidential campaign, but the proclamation isn’t the first time he’s addressed the issue. In June, Trump issued a statement observing National HIV Testing Day and encouraged Americans to learn their HIV status.

Moreover, Trump’s praise for programs like PEPFAR ignores his own plans to slash the initiatives. His fiscal year 2018 budget proposal would decrease the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and PEPFAR by 17 percent each, making more than $1 billion in cuts.

Joel Kasnetz, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, said Trump is trying to erase his own record in his World AIDS Day proclamation.

“Pretending to recognize World AIDS Day while proposing to slash PEPFAR’s budget by $1 billion is downright insulting,” Kasnetz said. “Trying to erase LGBTQ people from the history of HIV/AIDS is another slap in the face. In his first year in office, Trump hasn’t missed an opportunity to be cruel to the LGBTQ community and the millions living with HIV all over the world.

Carl Schmid, deputy executive director for the AIDS Institute, said the proclamation has “some significant developments,” such as the call to end HIV/AIDS, but leaves much to be desired.

“While pleased to have president’s commitment, note that his only plan for U.S. is HIV testing,” Schmid said. “Need other prevention efforts and care and treatment, but [Trump’s] silent on that.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • AIDS is a GAY disease??? I thought you guys said it wasn’t. Make up your mind. You look silly.

    • AIDS is not a gay disease! People like you are a social disease! That my mind is clear on!

      • It’s a gay “mans” (I know, that’s an oxymoron) disease. Take the di€k out of your azz and you might live longer. Or don’t, it’s not like I care.

        • It no more a gay man disease than tay Sachs is a black disease!

          Jim neighbors lived to be 87 and he was gay! Can you hope to live that long being a dik yourself?

          As for caring that’s all you whine about, where people have their diks so who are you kidding on what you care about??

  • The Fake POTUS consistently leaves out GLBT people! Time you face the truth and stop expecting any better from this disgrace!

  • Did we expect anything more from the fake potus who can’t even say LGBT without it getting caught in his throat? The man is so self absorbed and attached to his dog whistles to the conservative and alt right groups that he measures each thing he says. There was a clear intention for leaving the LGBT community out, he was giving a signal to the conservative xtian evangelicals that he will do nothing for the community no matter what the issue for that matter any group.

  • Chris, if the President had mentioned LGBTQ people in the proclamation, would the Blade have praised him? Doubtful.

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    • There is nothing praise worthy about the Fake POTUS! What do you have to praise him about exactly? You’ll be paying more taxes with his tax bill at your income level no doubt!

      • Donald Trump is well known as a non-tipper.

        However, articles complaining about imperfections, when the Blade would still be complaining about something even if the stated imperfection did not exist, tend to become tired.

        It’s never too late for anyone, including even Donald Trump, to do the right thing. Someone who does the right thing should be praised, for one day.

        Then get back to work tomorrow! Thank you.

        • Donald Trump do the right thing? Only if he resigns and disappears but his ego will never allow it!

          Donald Trump does nothing but whine and complain so he’s way past getting tired! But that seems to have escaped you!

          • I agree that Donald Trump is a complete oxygen thief.

            But when someone does the right thing, praise is appropriate.

            Otherwise, there is never any incentive to do the right thing, and we don’t want that.

            Thank you.

  • Trump’s praise for the private sector’s efforts at eradicating AIDS is hypocritical and ignores the reason why AIDS victims turned to the private sector, which is that the government kept ignoring and denying the AIDS crisis even existed for years. And now the Trump administration is only continuing that system of denial by threatening more cuts to funding for AIDS research and treatment.

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