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New York Times Letters To Editor Discuss U.S. Role In Realizing AIDS-Free Generation

New York Times: Letters to the Editor: How to Move Toward an AIDS-Free Generation
The newspaper published two letters to the editor in response to “Why Trump Should Keep PEPFAR,” a New York Times opinion piece written by Bill Frist and published on February 9.

Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), member of the House Budget and Appropriations Committees and co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus

“…The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, has been one of the most successful public health and peace initiatives in our country’s history. This lifesaving program is an important example of what our government can accomplish when we set aside partisan disagreements and focus on saving lives. … Under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, we have strengthened the program. As a direct result of this bipartisan work, public health experts believe that we are on the cusp of realizing an AIDS-free generation by 2030. Right now, we are at a turning point in the AIDS epidemic. Either we can redouble our investments and eradicate the disease, or we can retreat from our leadership in the world. I urge President Trump to learn from the successes of PEPFAR and choose the first option” (2/20).

Sean Strub, executive director of the Sero Project, and Joel Goldman, managing director of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation

“If President Trump wants to make a difference in preventing HIV in the United States and around the world, ending HIV criminalization — the wrongful use of someone’s HIV-positive status in a criminal prosecution — is the first step. These laws impose criminal penalties on people living with HIV based on exaggerated fears and misinformation about HIV transmission. … A growing body of evidence demonstrates that HIV criminalization statutes are making the epidemic worse, because of how they discourage people at risk from getting tested for HIV (one can’t be prosecuted if one doesn’t know he or she has HIV) and create mistrust of the public health system. We can prosecute HIV or we can prevent it, but we can’t do both. Ending HIV criminalization will save money, reduce HIV-related stigma, protect the rights of people living with HIV, and, most important, improve public health here in the United States and around the globe” (2/20).

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