President Trump can delete mentions of HIV and AIDS from The White House website, but here are 10 reasons to remember that those of us living with HIV will be just fine.
Based on the current political climate in the U.S., aggravated almost daily by President Trump, those of us living with HIV or AIDS are seeing national news stories announce the looming Trump-apocalypse and we are missing the level of (or really any) meaningful support we became used to during the Obama administration.
For long-term survivors and long-term allies of ours, the major shade that the Trump administration appears to be tossing towards the plans for continuing the work accomplished by the Obama administration helping to end the epidemic is nothing new. In fact, it’s a simple replay of the Reagan inaction and silence from the 1980s.
Here’s the facts:
The Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) is closed, according to multiple reports. The current webpage looks very telling. If you want to actually know what the ONAP did and accomplished, look here.
During the transition, Trump questioned PEPFAR, the international response to HIV/AIDS globally by questioning:
“But, in contrast, the Trump transition questionnaire asks, “Is PEPFAR worth the massive investment when there are so many security concerns in Africa? Is PEPFAR becoming a massive, international entitlement program?””
Asking if PEPFAR is worth the investment—shows the lack of interest in knowing how responsible PEPFAR is in spending the dollars appropriately all the way down to the local level internationally. Ambassador Deborah Birx is a hero, and J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, explains what all this means in an interview:
Morrison told me the administration’s actions seem dissonant: Keeping Birx in her position—which he called a “smart decision”—“was the done with the right hand, and the Mexico City order comes with the left hand,” he said. “It hasn’t been explained,” Morrison added. “We don’t know the true costs will be, how this will be implemented in practice, and we don’t know what the legality is.”
But for people like me, diagnosed in the last 5 years, are only thinking about the complete reversal of the protection we have felt and how empathic The White House has been on raising awareness almost monthly prior to Donald Trump walking in the Oval Office. We know and understand that the Trump Administration would make changes that could affect all of us, but we are freaking out.
So, I made a list to cope.
Here are 10 reasons that those living with HIV or AIDS will survive President Trump:
- Although Trump will probably remain silent on the epidemic, there won’t be silence about the epidemic anywhere else. Actually, quite the opposite. We will engage even more on social media, talk even louder to make sure we are heard, and unify our messages for prevention and support of those living with the virus.
- We are not alone in this journey. Like literally, millions of people on this day, have wisdom to share and we will listen ready to learn.
- Former President Obama did something for us that we don’t even realize yet–he made sure to update the National HIV Strategy through 2020. Literally–through the hopeful end of the Trump Administration. He’s so smart, that Barack. Just saying.
- We have the focus and attention of some of the largest HIV organizations in the country helping us become better, stronger, and happier. AIDS United is killing it right now.
- We will have the opportunity to get in the streets about HIV and AIDS alongside ACT Up. And something about organizing ourselves seems anything but “being a victim” from the Trump Administration, and it feels more like we are about to force action–and that’s a good thing!
- Every single one of us is living proof the strategy is working! We ARE the National AIDS Policy!
- The medical community and researchers will continue to do their noble work. They can’t just stop doing their passionate work. And they won’t! We must support them.
- The Trump White House is only four years long, hopefully. (It could be worse.)
- We have the best message we have ever had about those living with HIV: #UequalsU. It would be irresponsible and unethical not to share the information.
- We are living well, not dying. We can refuse to feel like we are finished!