The Biden administration has been around for almost a year, yet every new day continues to highlight its stark contrast with the last one. Biden’s first World AIDS Day is marked by bold commitments, careful strategies, and respect for the LGBTQ community. Under Donald Trump, World AIDS Day always came with an insult before culminating last year in a pathetic lie.
The White House issued a proclamation urging Americans to take the time to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS and join in supporting people living with HIV by showing dignity and compassion. President Biden reminds us that even as we fight the coronavirus pandemic, we cannot neglect the AIDS epidemic.
Biden, in fact, points out the pandemic has “added to the challenges our heroic health care and frontline workers face” and emphasizes “the work that still remains” for equitable prevention and care access, especially for “communities of color, adolescent girls and young women, and the LGBTQI+ community.” According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fact sheet, 69% of new HIV diagnoses in 2019 were among gay and bisexual men.
While words are important, the Biden administration is doing far more than issue a proclamation. In a comprehensive fact sheet, the administration announced concrete action to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030. A new National HIV/AIDS Strategy document details the framework for the administration’s policies through 2025 over nearly 100 pages. One of the many components involves reinstating the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, which fell victim to Trump’s gross mismanagement and callous attitude toward the epidemic throughout his failed term.
A year ago, on his final World AIDS Day, Trump was lambasted for never having acknowledged the LGBTQ community in all four annual commemorations. Rather than respond and show support, former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany deflected, boasting that the Trump administration broke ground by hanging a two-story red ribbon from the North Portico. The truth is that the ribbon display has been an annual tradition since 2007.
On the campaign trail in the wake of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, Trump laughably insisted, “I’m much better for the gays.” As 2021 comes to a close, two new independent studies reveal there was a significant decline in the mental health of LGBTQ individuals under Trump, according to a report from NBC News. The Biden administration has succeeded today both in restoring dignity for World AIDS Day and the LGBTQ community and putting the United States on a promising path to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic this decade.