DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Honorable Eliot L. Engel
Sent By:
Catherine.Rowland@mail.house.gov

Last week,
the Washington Post reported
that six HIV/AIDS experts resigned from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

In an op-ed, those experts cited their belief that the Council can no longer be impactful on account of the Trump Administration’s inattention to HIV/AIDS and support
for policies that would harm people living with HIV, including the American Health Care Act. In the same op-ed, those experts called upon Members of Congress to continue engaging with the advocacy community and keep up the fight to end HIV/AIDS for good.

In response to these alarming resignations, I have authored the letter below to reaffirm Members’ commitment to the goal of ending HIV/AIDS.
This letter to the six experts who resigned acknowledges the enormous strides the U.S. has made in this fight, as well as the significant hurdles we’ve yet to overcome – hurdles that we cannot surmount without a strong commitment from the U.S. government.

Please join me in assuring the public that Members of Congress remain devoted to the fight against HIV/AIDS. If you have any questions, or would like to sign on, please contact Catherine Rowland at
catherine.rowland@mail.house.gov. This letter will close at
COB today.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Eliot L. Engel

Member of Congress

July XX, 2017

 

Dear Mr. Schoettes,

As Members of Congress committed to defeating HIV/AIDS, we are gravely concerned by your account of the Trump Administration’s inattention to this disease and those it affects, as well as the serious ramifications of such apathy.

As you know, the United States has made tremendous strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Between 2005 and 2014, the estimated number of new infections among Americans fell by nearly one-fifth. More than half of Americans diagnosed with HIV are virally suppressed,
effectively reducing their risk of transmitting the virus to others to zero.

The engagement of the U.S. government has been instrumental in securing these gains. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, rates of insurance coverage among people living with HIV improved significantly. Federal funding provided through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS
program allows local governments to better care for people living with HIV/AIDS in our districts. Globally, U.S. leadership, especially through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has allowed nearly 11.5 million people worldwide to begin life-saving
treatment.

However, our work is far from finished. More than 1.2 million Americans live with HIV, and 13 percent do not know their status. In addition, a number of communities remain disproportionately affected by HIV, including minorities, transgender people, and
gay and bisexual men.

It is imperative that our federal government remain devoted to ending HIV/AIDS and clear-eyed about the challenges we have yet to overcome. Without the commitment of the federal government, we cannot hope to end pervasive disparities, identify Americans
who do not know their HIV status, or connect them with the treatment that will allow them to live long and healthy lives.

Given the considerable work ahead, we were disheartened by your account of the Administration’s inattention to HIV/AIDS. We share your concern that this Administration’s complacency and support for dangerous policies, such as the American Health Care Act,
will impede the historic progress our nation has made.

We, as Members of Congress, remain fully committed to the goal of an AIDS-free generation and will oppose policies that would harm people living with HIV. In addition, we welcome your recommendations as to how we might better support the fight against HIV/AIDS.
While Congress cannot supplant an Administration’s enthusiastic commitment, we will make every effort to carry on our nation’s important work to defeat HIV/AIDS once and for all.

We thank you for your public service on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and look forward to continued engagement with the advocacy community to advance our shared goals.

Sincerely,

C.C.: Lucy Bradley-Springer; Gina Brown; Ulysses W. Burley III; Michelle Ogle; Grissel Granados.

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