GLAD Joins Other Orgs. in Marking National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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aids_mdBOSTON, Mass.—On September 27 in support of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has joined hundreds of organizations and individuals in signing onto a joint letter (www.wethelgbt.org) to re-engage the broader LGBT community in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men account of 63% of the new HIV infections in 2010.  In fact, gay men are the only group in which HIV infections are increasing.

“HIV continues to have a disproportionate and devastating impact on our community,” said Lee Swislow, Executive Director of GLAD.  “All of us in the community should commit our time, talent, and resources to ending the epidemic.” [pullquote]According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men account of 63% of the new HIV infections in 2010.  In fact, gay men are the only group in which HIV infections are increasing.  [/pullquote]

The joint letter reads in part:

Over the last 30 years, the LGBT community has seen great strides in the movement for full equality.  Much of this success is the result of a concerted movement, which was galvanized in response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s…In the decades since our movement has seen incredible victories… Unfortunately, our community hasn’t maintained the same momentum in our fight against HIV… Each day, more than 80 gay and bisexual men become infected with HIV in the United States… Despite these alarming statistics, which have galvanized our community in the past, the HIV epidemic has seemed to fall by the wayside.  Many in our community have simply stopped talking about the issue.  This must change.  (www.wethelgbt.org)

GLAD continues its HIV work today, most recently focusing on access to health care for people living with HIV.  The Treat Lipodystrophy Coaltion (TLC), spearheaded by GLAD, is working to pass An Act Relative to HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Treatment.

This bill in the Massachusetts legislature requires private insurers, MassHealth, and the Group Insurance Commission to provide medical treatment for lipodystrophy, a disfiguring side-effect of lifesaving, but highly toxic, HIV medications. [pullquote]“HIV still is the most stigmatized health condition in our society, and it has a profound impact on the lives of gay men,” said Bennett Klein, Director of GLAD’s AIDS Law Project.[/pullquote]

HIV still is the most stigmatized health condition in our society, and it has a profound impact on the lives of gay men,” said Bennett Klein, Director of GLAD’s AIDS Law Project. “Fear and discrimination have hardly been eradicated, so we all must keep up the fight.”

Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

[From a News Release]

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