September 16, 2016

Hillary Clinton to U.S. AIDS Conference: Now Is the Time

This article originally appeared on The Body.

On September 15, Dr. Eric Goosby — the former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator for President Obama who now serves as the UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis — took the stage at the 2015 U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA), bearing a letter from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

In her written message to those at the event, Clinton reaffirms her vow to convene an “End the Epidemic” working group in the Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy. She also emphasizes her pledges to cap out-of-pocket medical expenses; to expand funding for research, Medicaid coverage and access to PrEP; and to reform HIV criminalization laws.

While she affirms her intention to increase global access to HIV treatment, she continues to not make a specific funding pledge towards this goal, which has been noted and critiqued by advocates in the course of the campaign.

The conference sponsors had also invited presidential candidate Donald Trump to speak but the campaign did not send the candidate, a speaker from his campaign or any message for attendees.

Here is the message from Clinton in full:

Dear Friends:

Please accept my warm greetings as you gather in Hollywood for the 20th year of the United States Conference on AIDS.

The AIDS crisis in America began as a quiet, deadly epidemic — and because of discrimination and disregard, it remained that way for far too long. When many in positions of power turned a blind eye, activists, advocates, scientists, and many other heroic Americans — many of whom are gathered for this very conference — fought with courage and compassion for a national commitment to address the disease. Due to their and your efforts, the United States has made great progress in the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS — but we still have work to do. There are still 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States today, with about 50,000 people newly diagnosed each year. HIV and AIDS continue to disproportionately impact communities of color, transgender people, young people, and gay and bisexual men. I am heartened to know that one of this year’s sessions is focused on the barriers some of these populations face in receiving HIV services.

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