Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus Co-Chairs Call for an End to HIV Discrimination on the 33rd Annual World AIDS Day
Washington, D.C. – Representatives Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Jenniffer González-Colón today recognized World AIDS Day, which is celebrated each year on December 1, by reintroducing the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act of 2022.
The theme of the 33rd annual World AIDS Day is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone's Voice,” which uplifts the need to address health inequities and ensure the voices of people with HIV are central in the work to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.
In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, 38 million people around the world are living with HIV and there are almost 40,000 new diagnoses each year.
Approximately 12.6 million people are living with HIV that have not received treatment globally. Also, just as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed severe health disparities, the HIV and AIDS epidemic disproportionately impacts communities of color and LGBTQ+ communities.
“On World AIDS Day, we remember those who have lost their struggle against this disease, their families and loved ones, and the millions more who continue to live with and fight against it,” said Rep. Lee. “This is the moment that we must all enact the political and moral will to bring equitable care and services for the LGBTQI+ community, racial and ethnic minorities, and women and girls. We will only end AIDS if we address the deep disparities in access to sexual and reproductive care, life-saving HIV services, and education.
“As we mark the 33rd World AIDS Day, it is imperative that we address stigma and discrimination, and repeal punitive laws against people living with HIV. We must come together to protect lifesaving public health programs to realize our shared goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation. I’m proud to be working with co-chair Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon on this effort, and I stand with the HIV community, their families, advocates, and my colleagues to recognize the progress we have made over the years and fully commit to the work that remains.”
“As we commemorate World AIDS Day, I am proud to join my colleagues from the bipartisan HIV/AIDS Caucus in introducing the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act, and continue our efforts to spread awareness and eradicate discrimination against people living with HIV,” said Rep. González-Colón. “This is a mission I care about deeply, as in my district, two people become newly infected with HIV every day. It’s imperative we continue supporting those living with this virus and their families, as we continue working in crafting common sense policies and programs to improve research and treatment and end the HIV epidemic.”
The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act of 2022 would work to modernize laws and policies to eliminate discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS. Criminal statutes still exist in 31 states and 2 U.S. territories based on long-outdated beliefs about HIV transmission and exposure, and prosecutions for alleged exposure to HIV have occurred in at least 39 states.
Reps. Lee and Gonzalez-Colon also introduced H.Res. 813, the World AIDS Day Resolution, which was also introduced in the Senate by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and H.Res. 461, Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, to recognize the efforts and achievements in combating HIV/AIDS and urge rapid action by all countries and the continued commitment by the United States to invest in domestic, bilateral, multilateral, and private sector efforts to ensure that an AIDS-free generation is achievable.
To read a summary of the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act of 2022, click here.