Letter to Hillary Clinton from Ad Hoc National Coalition to End the AIDS Epidemic

August 11, 2016

Secretary Hillary Clinton Hillary for America
Post Office Box 5256
New York, NY 10185-5256

 

Dear Secretary Clinton:

We write as members of the Ad Hoc National Coalition to End the AIDS Epidemic, comprised of over 70 AIDS advocates and service providers from around the country, to express our gratitude to you for honoring your commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The events of the past few weeks underscore that you and your team seriously considered the concerns and proposals we shared with you this past spring and during our May and June in-person meetings. We are pleased to find that a number of the recommendations we made have been integrated into your campaign platform.

We were very proud and gratified to see Atlanta-based activist Daniel Driffin take the stage at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). As the first HIV-positive speaker to address the convention in over a decade, and as a young, black, openly gay, and openly HIV-positive man from the South, Driffin’s presence was historic and well received on a national level as one more step toward fighting HIV stigma.

We were also pleased to hear from your August 2 announcement that you plan to build upon your HIV/AIDS agenda by convening an “End the Epidemic” working group to adopt aggressive and attainable timelines for ending AIDS as an epidemic in the United States and globally, to fully implement and strengthen the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to meet these timelines, and to launch a campaign to end the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS. We appreciated a specific mention of the South, given that it is hit hardest by HIV/AIDS nationally, and we hope to use some of our future conversations to dig deeper into addressing stigma, as well as the serious challenges specific to the South, especially the need for adequate resources and policies to combat the rapidly growing epidemic there.

The coalition expresses deep gratitude for these significant steps. They represent real progress toward ending the domestic AIDS epidemic by building on your previous HIV/AIDS platform, which already included expanding affordable care, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, opposing HIV criminalization, and removing disparities and barriers to accessing care. We also appreciate your commitment to key populations, such as men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender individuals, people who use drugs, sex workers, girls and young women, and other marginalized populations.

You expressed during our first meeting that you and your staff regarded our gathering together as the beginning of an ongoing conversation about HIV/AIDS. We do as well, and we look forward to continuing that dialogue with you and your campaign in the months to come. To that end, we are also writing to propose the following next steps to you and your team so we can build on our momentum in the coming months:

  • Support ending the global AIDS pandemic by making a specific commitment to increase funding to the global PEPFAR program by at least $2 billion per year by 2020. We continue to urge you to commit to the same funding proposal we presented to you in May. This plan would double the number of people on treatment supported by PEPFAR and help set the world on track to putting over 30 million people living with HIV on treatment by 2020. It would also provide additional funding for an initiative to address poverty and inequality, the social and economic drivers of HIV. The United States has been a leader on global HIV/AIDS. Likewise, you have long been committed to the global fight against HIV/AIDS. It is crucial for you to model that leadership for other nations by making a specific monetary commitment amount to PEPFAR, particularly at this critical juncture. At the International AIDS Conference in South Africa in July, we heard that global funding for the HIV response has dropped by over $1 billion, seriously threatening the possibility of ending AIDS globally by the year 2030. An increase in PEPFAR funding is needed now more than ever to reverse this trend and to fulfill our commitment to universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and care. And as we know, when it comes to HIV/AIDS, silence and inaction are deadly. Funding increases must also should be paired with commitments to promote, protect, and defend the civil and human rights of persons living with and at risk for HIV, as well as other marginalized and criminalized populations.
  • Attend the 2016 United States Conference on AIDS, which takes place from September 15 to 18. This year’s conference is being held in Florida, an election battleground state and the state that ranks first in the nation in the annual number of HIV diagnoses. An appearance by you or one of your high-level policy staffers would send a strong message that if we are to end our AIDS epidemic, we need to do so for everyone—all populations in all regions.
  • Appoint HIV advisors to your team, including people living with HIV (PLHIV), and, should you be elected, continue to meet with our coalition during the transition period. The primary goal of meeting during this timeframe would be to discuss next steps for domestic and global strategies to end the epidemic, first and foremost the composition and structure of the “End the Epidemic” working group that will be developing the detailed roadmap and timelines for those strategies. Other items for discussion at this meeting would include strengthening the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) to enable that office to better address the HIV/AIDS crisis, developing strategies to ensure that the Affordable Care Act can better meet the needs of people living with HIV and other serious and costly diseases, and improving cross-agency collaboration on HIV/AIDS, health disparities, stigma, PLHIV empowerment, meaningful involvement of PLHIV at all levels of decision-making, and structural issues that affect our most vulnerable populations.
  • Commit to establishing and convening the first meeting of the “End the Epidemic” working group during your first 100 days in office, should you be elected. This action will require a relatively small commitment of resources, but will re-establish the sense of urgency to address the HIV/AIDS crisis that has fallen by the wayside.

Taking immediate, bold, and decisive action in this way would underscore the United States’ role as an international leader and a model for other nations to follow and would make it clear to the rest of the world that under your command the U. S. will not back away from its commitments and that we will lead the world toward ensuring the end of AIDS achieve our common vision for an by 2030. Should you be elected, we look forward to working with you and your administration to implement and expand to secure necessary funding and to set a timeline and targets to achieve our common vision of an AIDS-free generation.

Sincerely,

The Ad Hoc National Coalition to End the AIDS Epidemic:

Jose Abrigo, Staff Attorney, LGBTQ/HIV Advocacy Project, Queens Legal Services

ACRIA

ACT UP New York

ACT UP Philadelphia

African Services Committee

AIDS Action Baltimore

AIDS Alabama

AIDS Foundation of Chicago

AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta

AIDS Service Center NYC (ASCNYC)

AIDS United

Albany Damien Center

Ali Forney Center

Alliance for Positive Health

Amida Care

Apicha Community Health Center

AVAC

Bailey House

John Barry, LMSW, Executive Director, Southern Tier AIDS Program

BOOM!Health

Marco Castro-Bojorquez, Venas Abiertas: Una Red de Inmigrantes Latinxs Viviendo con el VIH/SIDA (Open Veins: A Network of Latinx Immigrant People Living With HIV/AIDS)

Rebecca Botting

Bronx Parent Housing Network

Reginald T. Brown, M. Ed., Unity Fellowship of Christ Church Movement (UFCM), VOCAL-NY

Community Leader

Central New York HIV Care Network

Dee Dee Chamblee, La Gender, Inc.

Clare Housing

CNY HIV Care Network

Coalition for Homeless Youth

William Scott Daly

JD Davids

Thomas Davis

End AIDS Now

Equality Florida

Sergio Farfan, Louisiana Latino Health Coalition for HIV/AIDS

Ingrid Floyd, Executive Director, Iris House

Miasha Forbes, Human Rights Activist and Founder, Just for Us: Gender Diversity Project

Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC)

Health GAP

Health People

HealthHIV

Hetrick-Martin Institute

Hispanic Health Network

HIV Prevention Justice Alliance

Housing Works

Brian Hujdich, Pozitively Health Coalition

Human Rights Campaign

Hyacinth AIDS Foundation

Carine Jocelyn, CEO, Diaspora Community Services, Brooklyn, NY

Marsha Jones, the Afiya Center

Howard Josepher, LCSW, President & CEO, Exponents

Jacquelyn Kilmer, CEO, Harlem United

Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn

Latino Commission on AIDS

Latinos in the Deep South

Legacy Community Health
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

Louisiana Latino Health Coalition for HIV/AIDS Awareness (LLHC) Alan Timothy Lunceford-Stevens

LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York

Los Angeles LGBT Center

Matthew McMorrow, former Director of Government Affairs, Empire State Pride Agenda

David Ernesto Munar, CEO, Howard Brown Health

National Black Justice Coalition

National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS

National Working Positive Coalition

NMAC (formerly known as the National Minority AIDS Council)

OASIS-Latino LGBTS Wellness Center

Positive Women’s Network–USA

Prevention Point Philadelphia

Project Inform

Michael Emanuel Rajner, Wilton Manors, FL

Kyle Rapinon, Esq., Director of Survival and Self-Determination, Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Elana Redfield, Attorney and LGBTQI Activist

Dr. Margaret S. Reneau, Director of Programs, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS

Ryan/Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center

Bamby Salcedo, TransLatin@ Coalition

Eric Sawyer, Founding Member—ACT UP, Co-Founder Housing Works, Inc. & Health GAP, Inc.

Virginia Shubert, Shubert Botein Policy Associates

SisterLove Inc.

Southern Tier AIDS Program

Peter Staley

Rev. Moonhawk River Stone, M.S., LMHC, RiverStone Consulting, Schenectady, NY

Daniel W. Tietz

Treatment Action Group (TAG)

Trillium Health/Rochester

Peter Twyman, CEO, Keep a Child Alive

U.S. PLHIV Caucus

Andrew Velez, ACT UP New York

VillageCare

Tom Viola, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

VOCAL New York

Washington Heights CORNER Project

David W. Webber, Attorney

John Wikiera, Central NY HIV Care Network

Terri L. Wilder, MSW

Phill Wilson, President & CEO, Black AIDS Institute

Doug Wirth, President/CEO, Amida Care

Young Black Gay Leadership Initiative (YBGLI) 


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