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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 7, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 23
Lets beat this thing! - 35 groups commit to re-engage the fight against HIV/AIDS
Section One
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Lets beat this thing! - 35 groups commit to re-engage the fight against HIV/AIDS

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

As the nation marks the opening of LGBT Pride Month, executive directors from 35 LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations from the United States released a joint letter on June 3, committing themselves and their organizations to re-engaging the broader LGBT community in the fight against HIV.

While issues like marriage equality and employment protections for LGBT workers have taken center stage, HIV continues to ravage the LGBT community, Gay City officials said in a media release. Despite making up just two percent of the population, Gay and Bisexual men accounted for more than 63 percent of new HIV infections in 2010. In fact, Gay men are the only group in which HIV infections are increasing.

For the first time in history, we have the tools that can put an end to new HIV infections in our lifetime, said Fred Swanson, executive director of Gay City Health Project. We must all engage both locally and nationally, and Gay City is grateful for the many men and women standing with us in the fight against HIV.

UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY
We are at an important crossroad in our fight against HIV, said National Minority AIDS Council Executive Director Paul Kawata. The evidence behind treatment as prevention, and expansions in health care coverage that will accompany implementation of the Affordable Care Act, have provided a unique opportunity to end this epidemic, which has ravaged our community for more than three decades. But this will not happen without the full engagement of those most impacted by the disease, and no community has been more heavily affected than the LGBT community. I am thrilled to be a part of this campaign to re-energize the LGBT response and work together to realize the vision of an AIDS-free generation.

As an organization that has been working to combat HIV discrimination since the beginning of the epidemic we are excited to see the LGBT movement re-commit to this work, said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal. Because Gay and Bisexual men and Transgender people are disproportionately affected by the epidemic, and because we see the effects of discrimination and laws targeting people with HIV for criminalization, it is incredibly important for the LGBT community to step up.

AN AIDS-FREE GENERATION
Said National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, The LGBT community always has been at the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic. As the community most impacted, we are the ones who must step up and recommit to ending future transmissions. To have a new generation of LGBT young people grow up free from HIV and AIDS will be a fitting legacy to those we have lost to this disease.

Heres an excerpt from the joint statement:

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 hasnt 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.

Read the entire letter, watch the accompanying video, and join the pledge at www.wethelgbt.org.

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Failure in Illinois - House adjourns without voting on marriage equality bill
------------------------------
Lets beat this thing! - 35 groups commit to re-engage the fight against HIV/AIDS
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Rally 'round the flag! - Activists urge Space Needle to fly Pride banner every year
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Murray supporters form campaign group - Organizers say fundraising will be main focus
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Pentagon observes Pride Month for second year
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State Dept. recognizes LGBT Pride Month
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Heart of a SEAL - Former elite Navy corpsman comes out as Transgender
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Confronting the 'Gay panic' excuse - Crime victims' sexuality is often used against them in court
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Sen. Frank Lautenberg dies at 89 - Authored Ryan White CARE Act and other pro-LGBT laws
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Brits begin new HIV vaccine study - Volunteers now being chosen for extensive two-year trial
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Scientists map inner structure of HIV - Findings may be key to overcoming drug resistance
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British marriage bill passes another test - House of Lords rejects attempt to derail equality legislation
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Jallen Messersmith comes out to play - Benedictine forward is first openly Gay male college basketball player
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German court adds one more right for same-sex couples
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Turkish police assault Lesbian activist - Officials escalating violence against dissidents; U.S. group protests
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