Happy New Year!
Welcome to the first Black AIDS Weekly of 2018.
There is so much going on it’s hard to know where to begin.
First, over the holiday break and without explanation, the Trump administration fired all the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). To paraphrase the words of former Vice President Joe Biden, this is a big effing deal! The PACHA is the primary link between the administration and people living with HIV/AIDS or at the highest risk of infection. From a historical perspective, the Trump administration is the first to abruptly dismantle a PACHA. During a time when there is so much uncertainty, it leaves the administration with no mechanism to receive input from the community on potential HIV/AIDS-related public policies.
At the same time, the administration is moving forward with efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act, while recommending draconian cuts the CDC, HUD and HRSA, all of which dramatically impact the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS. In addition, as a result of the GOP tax bill and its impact on sequestration, automatic cuts to some domestic HIV/AIDS programs will begin to take place this spring. Collectively, these actions send a clear message that the Trump administration is not committed to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. If you were wondering what that loud thump was you heard, it was the other shoe dropping regarding the Trump administrations “response” to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in this country.
Adding insult to injury, the President and the Republican leadership in Congress met over the weekend to lay out their plans to attack entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. The president and Republican Congress are also playing Russian roulette with the lives of 9 million children who receive their healthcare coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as well as the 700,000 young Americans who have been protected through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
As if all this uncertainty weren’t bad enough, we are also approaching yet another federal budget deadline and possible government shutdown.
Now is a time that we all have to stay “woke”.
In this issue, we kick off the year by introducing you to the Black AIDS Institute’s two new board members, Dr. David Cook and David Munar. I cannot tell you how delighted we are to have them on board.
Next we run a story about the status of CHIP funding and the impact of this uncertainty upon children around the country. We also run a story from our friends at ProPublica about the shockingly high rate of serious health complications— from infections to birth-related embolisms to emergency hysterectomies — experienced by Black women who deliver their babies at so-called “black-serving” hospitals.
A new study has found that 20 percent of older people who’ve sought care for a chronic illness report experiencing discrimination. Though many kinds of discrimination were common, racial discrimination, not surprisingly, was reported most.
Finally, as we approach the end of the first year of the Trump administration, we run a piece
from our friends at Colorlines about how White supremacy is becoming normalized. Next Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. day. Do we need to ask “WWMLKD?”
Yours in the struggle,