Last Week in the News

Last week the world learned…

  • Space aliens are real!
  • July was the hottest month in recorded history,
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had a medical emergency on live TV,
  • Former President Trump faces multiple additional charges while still the frontrunner in the Republican race for president, and…

you are not alone in thinking the world is going insane. News about HIV sometimes gets drowned out, like the Washington Post report that abortion restrictions may impact the renewal of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The Senate Appropriations Committee weighted in on the FY24 budget and included $616 million for the Ending HIV Epidemic Initiative, a $3 million increase. Its too soon to know what will ultimately happen to the FY24 budget or PEPFAR and it’s important for community to keep up the pressure. Below are the latest Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAAP) budget tables for FY24 Appropriations.

For decades, HIV funding enjoyed bipartisan support. As recently as 2019, the Trump administration purposed a new budget line item for Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) that brought much needed resources to 57 jurisdictions across the country. Now our work is caught in the crosshairs of the culture wars. Anything to do with abortion, women’s rights, the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender rights, critical race theory, drag queens, DEI (diversity, equity & inclusion), affirmative action, gun control, and immigrants’ rights gets added scrutiny. The strategy seems to be to starve the people that don’t share their values. HIV sits at the intersection of everything they hate. There is no future if we don’t fight back. Our hard work and community infrastructure could disappear if these cuts were enacted. Fortunately, we still have friends, but we can’t take them for granted. Do not assume others will take care of these challenges. Our movement needs you to come to Washington! Standard registration for USCHA closes August 4th.

Last week with trans rights under assault, NMAC held an emergency round table on Capitol Hill with member of Congress and nationally-known medical professionals and policy experts to demand urgent action to project trans Americans. The round table was hosted by Congressional Equality Caucus Co-Chair Mark Takano (D-CA) and Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus Co-Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA) and attended by Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA) (see photos above). Thank you to all the leaders who spoke.

You can find a recording of the round table here.

  • Moderator: Toni Newman, Director of the Coalition for Justice and Equality Across Movements, NMAC
  • Susan Corke, Director, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project
  • Vivian Topping,Director, Advocacy & Civic Engagement, Equality Federation
  • Shelby Chestnut, Executive Director, Transgender Law Center
  • Lexi Adsit, Executive Director, TransCanWork
  • Dr. Fan Liang, Assistant Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medicine; Medical Director, The Center for Transgender and Gender Expansive Health

The communities hardest hit by HIV are also being weaponized by the extreme right. We did not ask for this fight. As a gay man of color, I’ve lived too much of my life with stigma and discrimination. I can’t and won’t go back into the closet. These are crazy times, but you are not alone. Standard registration for the US Conference on HIV/AIDS closes August 4th. Join this important conversation and celebrate Black Women in our movement.

Yours in the Struggle,

Paul Kawata

Paul Kawata