Trump’s HIV pledge at the State of the Union 2019
We all know that President Donald Trump is antipathetical to the LGBTQ community, but we wanted to know if there was anything we need to know– or be wary– about his long-delayed State of the Union 2019.
Overall? While Trump has pledged to end new HIV transmissions by 2030 during his address, we’re still leery given the president’s track record against the community during his regime.
Trump’s declaration during the State of the Union 2019
During his address, Trump declared that: “In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach.”
The president noted that the 2020 budget to be released in March will “ask Democrats and Republicans to make a needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years.”
Despite this news, the Daily Beast reported that HIV/ AID advocacy groups like AIDS United, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and the Southern AIDS Coalition were “cautiously encouraged” about the news.
But they also called for proof: “We stand ready to work with [Trump] and his administration if they are serious. But to date, this administration’s actions speak louder than words and have moved us in the wrong direction.”
State of the Union 2019 and the fight against HIV/ AIDS
In particular, the group cited the proposed rule change to Medicare Part D benefits, which could make it difficult with people living with HIV to start anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
Specifically, Part D insurance plans are required to cover ART for those who live with HIV.
However, HIV Medicine Association chair W. David Hardy warned that the proposed rule change would essentially allow “[insurers] to impose obstacles to some drugs based on cost.”
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Crowley of the infectious disease program at Georgetown Law, said the new proposal is “almost zeroed in on harming access to anti-retrovirals for people with HIV, so that’s really problematic.”
Jesse Milan, Jr., president of AIDS United, the proposal “could have a very deleterious effect on people who are living with HIV who are on Medicaid– and we’re talking about potentially several hundred thousand.”
Trump administration’s moves against the LGBTQ people
Of course, we can’t ignore the facts that the Trump administration has been targeting the LGBTQ community through other ways.
For example, their actions to gut the Affordable Care Act would affect not only affect those with HIV/AIDS but also with perennial health problems.
Likewise, they’ve recently attempted to ban transgender people from military service while also favoring religious health care providers who want to deny service to people because of “religious freedom.”
Crowley warned: “If their politics don’t let them talk about gay and bisexual men or trans people, that’s problematic.”
“If Trump was serious about HIV, he wouldn’t have proposed HIV funding cuts in his first two budgets,” National LGBTQ Task force advocacy director Stacey Long Simmons said in a statement.