The warning signs have been around for months. The stakes in this election have rarely been higher for people living with HIV. Access to health care is a fundamental part of ending the HIV epidemic. We need to work to ensure that everyone has the access to fight for their health in this election.
The current political attacks on the Affordable Care Act could have deadly consequences for people living with HIV. Millions rely on the ACA for health insurance they would have been unable to access or afford before its implementation. Without this coverage, they may be unable to afford their medications or be denied coverage based on their preexisting conditions, resulting in unnecessary transmissions, illnesses and deaths.
Our political decisions impact everything from Medicaid expansion, reproductive services access, medication pricing, COVID-19 relief and the basic human rights of LGBTQ communities and people of color. We have seen the deadly consequences of anti-Blackness, white supremacy and systemic oppression time and time again. All of these impact our ability to end the HIV epidemic.
There are already huge barriers to voting in this election. Voter suppression has included tactics like attempting to invalidate early ballots delivered after the polls close, attempts to prevent the United States Postal Service from effectively delivering ballots, and polling place closures—leading to extremely long waits at the polls that disproportionately impact communities of color.
Electoral organizers are strongly recommending that anyone who has yet to send in their mail-in ballot hand-deliver them into official ballot dropboxes. If you are one of those people just learning that your mail-in ballot might not make it in time to be counted, there are resources to help you find your nearest ballot box.
To learn more about the candidates for president and their plan for ending the HIV epidemic and supporting people living with HIV, our elections center has responses from the 2020 presidential candidates. These responses include the specific actions both candidates intend their administrations to take in regards to ending the HIV epidemic. Both candidates were asked questions in regards to health care, housing, and even immigration.
We know the impacts of stigma within the HIV community. Too many of us know what happens when people cannot access the medications and services they need. We need to ensure that every person affected by HIV has a chance to vote. No matter the outcome of this election, AIDS United remains committed to ending the HIV epidemic and supporting all people living with HIV.