Local LGBTQ, AIDS nonprofit leaders weigh in on president's plan to eradicate HIV in US by 2030

By Sarah Acosta - Reporter, Jennifer Galvan - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Ending HIV in the United States by the year 2030 is a goal that was laid out by President Donald Trump on Monday night during his State of the Union address.

Local leaders with the LGBTQ community and the nonprofit BEAT AIDS said it's a good first step, but it will take work to get to that goal. 

Robert Salcido, executive director of Pride Center San Antonio, said if the president's mention of ending HIV was a way to reach out to the LGBTQ community, it fell short.

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"He did not mention LGBTQ folks, specifically trans(gender) folks, at any point during his speech," Salcido said.

Michelle Durham, with BEAT AIDS, said it's a doable plan since there is already a national HIV/AIDS strategy to end the virus by 2030.

San Antonio is a fast-track city among many cities and counties and pledges to focus on education resources and destigmatizing HIV.

"I think it's going to be important for this administration to look at that strategy, update it and look at all the new ways we are using biomedical resources to end HIV once and for all," Durham said.

Durham said there are about 7,000 people who currently have HIV or AIDS in San Antonio and 1.2 million in the country. She said, however, reaching the national goal can't be done without funding. 

"Without the money to pay for the medications and doctors, I don't see any way that we could get rid of HIV by 2030," Durham said.

The president did not mention how much funding will go toward the cause in Monday's address.

Salcido said he hopes the president is serious about prioritizing the end to HIV and hopes it's not just a political move toward the LGBTQ community. 

"When you work in the community like you do here, you see the actual people that are affected and afflicted by it," Salcido said. "It's not a political pawn. It's not a political conversation. It's the dignity of human lives that are at stake."

Feb. 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. BEAT AIDS is inviting the community to a free luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Second Baptist Church.


 

Resources 

The following is a list of places where people can get HIV testing and prevention resources:

BEAT AIDS

Alamo Area Resource Center

Project HOT

San Antonio AIDS Foundation

For other resources for people of the LGBT community, click here to visit Pride Center San Antonio’s website.

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