HVCS Joins HIV/AIDS Orgs in Condemning Efforts to Downplay Transgender, Diversity at CDC

Hudson Valley Community Services joins other HIV/AIDS organizations in condemning efforts to ban or otherwise avoid seven key words and phrases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in the process, erase the transgender community and diversity.

On Monday, December 18, 2017, five of the nation’s leading organizations focused on ending the HIV and STD epidemics in the United States – AIDS United, NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors, NMAC and The AIDS Institute – expressed alarm over reports that the Trump Administration barred staff at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) from using certain words in its FY2019 budget justification to Congress. Hudson Valley Community Services stands with them in opposition to this development.

It is now being reported that top officials merely suggested that the CDC avoid using the words as a technique to help secure Republican approval of the 2019 budget. Either way, we cannot do justice to all communities–especially those at the highest risk for HIV–by pandering to those squeamish of diversity.

The five organizations released a joint press release, stating: “While we continue to be in contact with the Administration, CDC, and other agencies regarding these reports, restrictions on these terms, in any manner, demonstrate this Administration’s troubling lack of commitment to science and we are seeking further clarification. Thanks to bipartisan support in Congress and the Executive Branch we have made incredible progress against HIV over the last decade. But budget proposals delineate policy priorities, and in rejecting science and evidence along with other commonly understood health language, this Administration calls into question its commitment to science and the health of all communities, including racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities.

“Discouraging use and reference to “evidence-based” or “science-based,” is concerning enough. However, any attempt to remove “transgender” and “diversity” from CDC vocabulary would represent an outright dereliction of the stated duties of the agency. Such efforts are unacceptable and cannot go unanswered. Transgender people and people of color live under constant threat of systemic and specific discrimination and violence. Erasing them from official CDC documents ensures ongoing discrimination and undermines the ability of CDC to effectively respond to their health needs.

“Evidence suggests the transgender community is particularly vulnerable to HIV and STDs. As citizens and residents of this nation, they should be treated with fairness and respect. As human beings, they are entitled to dignity and affirming care.”

HVCS joins AIDS United, NASTAD, NCSD, NMAC, and The AIDS Institute in their pledge to remain committed to ensuring that diversity is celebrated by our public health system and that its work is rooted in science, not politics. We stand with transgender staff, constituents, clients, and family, and will not relent in our demands that their health and the health of all marginalized and minority communities be prioritized by this Administration and the U.S. government.

Read their press release here.

More info:
AIDS United (AU), NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), NMAC, and The AIDS Institute (TAI) are national non-partisan, non-profit organizations focused on ending HIV in the U.S. They have been working in partnership to identify and share resources to sustain successes and progress we have made in HIV and STD prevention, care and treatment in the United States.

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