In 2015, HRC continued the important work of raising awareness and preventing the spread of HIV, particularly among the communities hit hardest by the epidemic.
HRC Foundation released “What Do I Do? A Handbook To Understanding Health and HIV,” a four-part, groundbreaking handbook and resource guide on HIV prevention and treatment. HRC Foundation also released “Safer Sex,” an updated guide to practicing safer sex for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
HRC led a #BeInTheKnow campaign, calling attention to the impact of HIV & AIDS on the LGBT community and amplifying the voices of those most affected by the epidemic. HRC alsoworked throughout the year to educate people face-to-face at Black LGBT Pride festivals, regional convenings and national conferences, including a pre-conference institute ahead of the United States Conference on AIDS 2015.
In honor of World AIDS Day, HRC Foundation, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Center for HIV Law & Policy launched a national public education campaign to sound the alarm on dangerous HIV criminalization laws and the disproportionate harm they cause LGBT people, particularly in LGBT communities of color. HRC also released a new video and microsite on the topic.
HRC’s staff and volunteers were also extremely active in the fight. HRC Foundation’s Senior Specialist for HIV & AIDS Noel Gordon was honored at the Whitman-Walker Health Gala with the Impact Award, while HRC staff, members and supporters participated in AIDS walks and commemorative events across the country.
Much of this work was made possible through the support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and HIV & AIDS Project Fellow Marvell Terry II, whom the HRC Foundation hired in January.
HRC endorsed Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in 2014, and continues to work toward increasing awareness and access to prevention tools. Most recently we provided an online resource for patients to use in discussing PrEP with skeptical physician or other health care provider.
HRC was successful in pressing Congress to partially remove the federal ban on funding very effective syringe exchange programs. Now Federal resources will be available to pay for most program supplies, although local funds will still need to cover the direct costs of syringes and needles.
HRC has been at the forefront of calling out Turing Pharmaceuticals for putting profits ahead of patient needs and randomly escalating the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim, which is often used by HIV patients. We also addressed drug affordability and accessibility in comments to HHS on its proposed rule implementing the nondiscrimination protection provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Section 1557).
Even as we make tremendous progress in the fight for LGBT equality, who you are and where you live still has an enormous impact on how HIV is likely to affect your life. HRC continues to push Congress to provide the strongest possible federal response to the epidemic. Additionally, HRC continues to educate the LGBT community and our allies on the realities of HIV prevention, treatment and care.
Counting down to 2016, HRC is celebrating our greatest milestones and victories in 2015. It has been another incredible year for LGBT equality and we could not have done it without you — our members, readers and supporters–and we look forward to continuing our work in 2016. Stay tuned for more highlights from 2015.