In the early hours of this morning, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.
Throughout this campaign Health GAP and our activist partners showed how the next president has the power to move us forward toward ending AIDS – because the next four years mark a turning point in the global AIDS response. Now, it is Donald Trump’s administration and the new U.S. Congress that will determine whether the world gets on track to end the epidemic and fills the gap in funding needed for the response – or reverses course, putting countless lives at stake.
Who Americans choose to lead the country and guide its foreign policy matters a great deal to the international community. We don’t yet know what a Trump presidency means for the global AIDS response or for people living with HIV, key populations and other affected communities around the world. We do know that Trump has no policy platform that sheds any light on how – or if – he would confront global AIDS. We know that the vile racism and contempt for women he embraced and fomented on the campaign trail increases risk of HIV infection and poor clinical outcomes. We know that Trump has chosen a running mate who attacked the LGBT community in his home state, endorsing ‘conversion therapy’ and electroshock as ‘gay cures.’ And, we know that Trump has put PhRMA lobbyists and executives in charge of his transition team, and we watched with dismay today as PhRMA and private prison stocks soared – in sharp contrast with wider financial markets.
Despite these gravely concerning facts, we cannot be cowed. As AIDS activists, Health GAP is part of a social justice movement that responds to long odds not by acquiescing but by rejecting the status quo, organizing and fighting back.
We know that no victory comes without a struggle. We have fought and won hard battles before, speaking truth to power and holding elected leaders accountable, from the earliest days of the epidemic through the 2016 presidential campaign. That work may be even tougher in the months and years ahead and we cannot do it alone.
As our movement strategizes next steps, we must rally around the fact that AIDS exists at the intersection of health and justice. Achieving the end of AIDS can only happen when we fight racism, inequality, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia and bigotry.
Today, we stand ready to fight – for the next four years and beyond.