A Call To Action For Domestic HIV/AIDS Investment
Nearly 25,000 experts, advocates, and impacted populations converged on Mexico City last week for the International AIDS Conference. The 17th meeting was as much political as scientific, with contentious issues around stigma, antiretroviral drug access, and research funding shaping the dialogue and debate. While the international meeting drew much needed attention to the epidemic raging in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, Black American leaders shed light on the U.S’s failure to address the epidemic within its very own borders. During a press conference, leaders from the Black AIDS Institute, CARE, and the Ford Foundation called for a new domestic strategy and increased funding to address HIV/AIDS in America, particularly in black communities.
Phil Wilson of the Black AIDS Institute called for action, consistent with the Institute’s recently released report "Left Behind: Black America: A Neglected Priority in the Global AIDS Epidemic.”
Wilson noted, "We’re not here to wring our hands about the situation. We are calling today for a National AIDS Strategy…a clear, aggressive plan of action to provide HIV education, prevention and treatment to all who need it. This National AIDS Strategy would be the equivalent of a `U.S. PEPFAR,´ incorporating many of the same approaches the U.S. recommends for other countries with serious HIV epidemics.” Wilson’s call alludes to a criticism included in the new report, that the U.S. has invested more resources into the epidemic in Africa than within African American communities. The report notes that there are more HIV-positive African Americans within the United States, than in 7 of the 15 countries included in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.