Since 1988, World AIDS Day has been observed every year on Dec. 1 to raise awareness of the disease and commemorate those who have died from it, approximately 35 million people globally.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gay and bisexual men account for an estimated 70 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S.
In a statement issued Thursday recognizing World AIDS Day, President Donald Trump failed to mention the LGBTQ community, a group that has been mentioned by former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
“On World AIDS Day, we honor those who have lost their lives to AIDS, we celebrate the remarkable progress we have made in combatting this disease, and we reaffirm our ongoing commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat,” he said in the proclamation.
“We must target our efforts to reduce HIV-related health disparities and focus increased attention on highly vulnerable populations,” Obama said in his 2015 proclamation.
When the Daily Beast reached out for comment, the Trump administration said “HIV/AIDS afflicts people of all types.”
.@RealDonaldTrump's #WorldAIDSDay proclamation is missing a few things:
-It doesn't mention the marginalized communities disproportionately affected by HIV & AIDS–like #LGBTQ, Black & Latinx people.
-He’s touting programs that he’s proposing to significantly reduce funding for
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) November 30, 2017
The Trump White House has proposed to cut $800 million from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which funds treatment, testing and counseling support around the world, particularly in Africa.
The website for the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy has remained blank since Trump’s inauguration day.
The office’s former director, Amy Lansky, has since departed and there are no indications that Trump plans to reopen the office.
By comparison, this is what President Obama’s Office of National AIDS Policy looked like before leaving office:
“There is no appointed Director of AIDS Policy nor is there anyone in an acting director role,” said AIDS United president and CEO Jesse Milan, who has been living with HIV for over three decades. “The HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy has been helping to fill this gap, but there is no specific White House leadership on the issue.”