World AIDS Day – 2016
marks the 28th Anniversary of World AIDS Day. The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation's leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS, joins with the global community to unite in the fight against HIV, to affirm and support those living with HIV, and to remember those we have lost from the epidemic. This year's World AIDS Day theme for the United States is: * Leadership * Commitment * Impact *.
Since the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, Black Americans—particularly young Black gay, bisexual, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and cisgender and transgender women–have been the most impacted populations across all demographics. For decades, advocates within Black communities and LGBTQ communities have called for public policy changes to vigorously respond to the epidemic. Efforts to impact these communities have led to impressive reductions of new HIV infections, including a dramatic decrease among Black cisgender women in the last decade. However, we still have significant work to do to address the needs of those that live at the intersections of race, sexual orientation and gender identity.
We would like to laud President Obama for his steadfast leadership in the fight to end HIV/AIDS, and specifically his acknowledgement that the lives of young black gay men mattered in the fight against HIV. In the age of the Obama presidency, our community has witnessed great progress, including the passage of the Affordable Care Act, implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, , and benefiting from new and innovative research that has produced pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and Treatment as Prevention (TasP).
Unfortunately, we have also experienced many setbacks: the gutting of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; passage of discriminatory state election laws; the increase of overt racism in mainstream society; and the continued rise of HIV/AIDS in Black communities. In a time of political and policy uncertainty, there is one thing that remains certain–our collective commitment to doing everything we can to serve the Black community, and people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. We must continue to strive for an AIDS-free generation as we work to end the HIV epidemic and ensure that we accomplish the goals that have been set to advance human rights for all.
The theme "Leadership. Commitment. Impact." is a clarion call to the nation to stay vigilant and protect the gains made in the fight to end HIV/AIDS. We understand moving forward our efforts to mobilize on the ground with other organizations and individuals from diverse backgrounds will be more important than ever. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy calls for swift action focusing on the right people, right places and the right practices in order to achieve three goals: 1) reduce new HIV infections; 2) improve access to care and health outcomes; and 3) achieve a more coordinated national response to the epidemic. NBJC is committed to the goals of the strategy and ensuring a pathway to ending HIV/AIDS in Black communities. The charge has been made and now ALL WE NEED IS YOU!
Everyone in your family and community must play a critical role in ending HIV/AIDS in the Black community. Whether national, statewide or in your local community, here is what you can do!
- Develop relationships with your local health department to ensure that public health officials are creating safe and supportive environments for HIV testing, treatment and care.
- Advocate for local laws that are not stigmatizing or could prevent effective service delivery for the community.
- Ensure that state health departments are directing resources to the areas with the greatest unmet need in Black communities throughout your state.
- Organize to work with the appropriate civil rights organizations and other agencies to get programs to sufficiently address the unmet needs of the Black community.
- Hold the President-elect's Administration accountable in meeting the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
- Contact Congress today and urge them to restore HIV/AIDS funding.
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Tell Congress: No Cuts to HIV Funding
Congress is back in session and must reach agreement on a plan to fund the federal government by Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS), the Title X Family Planning Program and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program while also reducing funding to Ryan White Part C, the HHS Secretary's Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF), and the STD Prevention Program.. In the current negotiations, Congress is proposing cuts that would eliminate the
NBJC has joined with AIDS United to send a letter to the full Senate and the Chair and Vice Chair of Senate Appropriations, and we encourage you to personalize this template (CLICK HERE) and congressional advocacy tools (CLICK HERE) crafted for you to weigh in on the final FY 17 appropriations bill.