Sometimes, opportunities present themselves to rise to an occasion. Whether it’s convenient or not, difficult or not, is no matter. And our response can determine the legacy of a generation.
This is true of our current moment. It is a critical moment in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the response has the power to shape and save lives.
Right now, the opportunity and promise of an AIDS-free generation looms large. We have come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS: Between 2000 and 2013 new HIV infections fell by roughly 40%.
But the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to affect millions of people around the world and in the U.S, with marginalized communities disproportionately impacted and millions newly infected each year. Globally, in many places hardest hit by the epidemic, adolescent girls and young women face poverty, gender inequality, exclusion, discrimination, lack of education, and sexual violence, which put them at increased risk of acquiring HIV. And harmful laws that target and criminalize people living with HIV pose a serious threat to public health because they discourage those at risk from seeking lifesaving preventive care and early treatment. The U.S. must continue to provide robust support for the domestic and global health programs that aim to address these challenges, including HIV/AIDS and reproductive health care.
The situation can feel daunting, but an AIDS-free generation is possible. The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, and Planned Parenthood will play a key role by helping to ensure governments implement the agenda, so that this vision becomes a reality.
In California alone, there are over 115 health center providing comprehensive health care services to men and women, including HIV testing and treatment. Planned Parenthood health centers connect patients who need additional care with trusted, quality resources, and follows up with them to make sure they are cared for with the attention they need and deserve.
Globally, Planned Parenthood organizations partner with 53 organizations across Africa and Latin America to reach more than 1 million people with sexual and reproductive health information and services last year alone, including HIV/AIDs prevention and care.
Yet the efforts to advance sexual and reproductive health care have been unnecessarily politicized and hindered by opponents of women’s health. In recent months, the efforts to block Medicaid recipients from seeking care at Planned Parenthood, and blocking other critical public health programs, including HIV prevention programs — these are indispensable sources of health care for low-income and uninsured people. These attacks effectively deny patients access to affordable health care from providers they trust and pose a serious threat to the health of women, men, and young people.
Every individual should be able to decide when and whether to have children, and have access to the care they need to control their body and their future. This is true whether they are HIV-positive or not. I encourage you to #StandWithPP and support efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. Now is the time to move forward not backward, on this issue, which has impacted so many millions around the world. Let’s protect our progress, and double down on our efforts to achieve an AIDS-free generation.
Join us by tweeting your support, we’ve even drafted some sample posts you can use:
- We’ve come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but the epidemic still affects millions worldwide
- Defunding Planned Parenthood really means taking health care away — including testing and treatment for STIs like HIV #StandWithPP
- This World AIDS Day, we recognize a critical moment in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. #StandWithPP
- No matter their location, gender, race or HIV-status, every1 should have access to the care they need to control their body and their future. #StandWithPP