January 20, 2021: Today, we have a new president and vice president. While the enormous challenges their administration faces will not be resolved overnight, President Biden can begin to undo some of the grievous damage done to our nation and our communities right away.
Positive Women’s Network-USA (PWN) urges President Biden to prioritize in his administration and work with Congress to swiftly pass bold initiatives that protect and improve the health outcomes, wellbeing, and economic situation of people living with HIV, especially communities impacted by the HIV epidemic: Black, Indigenous and other communities of color, Black women, LGBTQ people, and trans and gender nonconforming people.
We look forward to new, science-based and rights-based leadership on the COVID-19 and HIV epidemics.
PWN calls on the Biden-Harris administration to prioritize the following:
- Declare racism a public health emergency.
- Institute an immediate, science, equity and rights-based response to the COVID-19 pandemic. People living with HIV must be considered a priority group for receipt of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine rollout must actively attend to racial and economic inequities in access to information and health care.
- Protect and expand the Affordable Care Act, including the addition of a Medicare public option.
- Declare an immediate moratorium on molecular HIV surveillance (MHS) until consent, data privacy, security, criminalization and other concerns are addressed.
- Implement a national HIV strategy that:
- Is led by communities most impacted by HIV in the U.S.and robustly engages networks of people living with HIV in development, monitoring, and implementation.
- Proactively addresses racial and gender inequities in the domestic epidemic and response.
- Prioritizes quality of life and quality of care for the 1.2 million Americans already living with HIV, not only HIV prevention.
- Addresses social and structural barriers to the HIV response, including criminalization housing, health care access, employment opportunities, and the sexual and reproductive health care needs and human rights of people of trans experience, sex workers, and immigrants.
- Robustly fund federal programs serving people living with HIV such as Ryan White, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV or AIDS (HOPWA).
We have reached out to the Biden-Harris transition team with these policy priorities to invite them to rely on PWN as a resource for making sure that the needs of women and people of trans experience living with HIV are met. We look forward to working with President Biden and Vice President Harris to maximize opportunities to improve the quality of life for all people living with HIV and the communities most impacted by the domestic HIV epidemic.