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VP Pence Criticized for Not Mentioning Gay Community in AIDS Speech

At the White House, Pence did not mention the gay community, just as President Trump did not mention it in his World AIDS Day proclamation a year ago.

WASHINGTON--Vice President Mike Pence is facing criticism, not for something he said in a speech on Thursday when honoring the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, but for something he didn't say.

At the White House, Pence did not mention the gay community, just as President Trump did not mention it in his World AIDS Day proclamation a year ago.

One of the people most upset about it is Chad Griffin, the President of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT rights organization in the U.S.

Carl Schmid, deputy director of the AIDS Institute, thanked Pence for “recommitting our government’s goal to end HIV as a public health threat,” but also said he made important omissions. 

“While we know that many parts of the federal government work day in and day out on addressing HIV in the United States, we wish he would have made mention of their work and those of the many states, cities, local organizations, and advocates that are fighting HIV throughout the U.S within the communities most impacted, including gay men, people of color and in the South,” Schmid said. “If we are going to end HIV in the U.S. all communities and populations must prioritized.” 

What Pence Did Say

Pence did praise the Ryan White CARE Act, a federal program that provides health coverage for low-income people with HIV/AIDS, asserting the program “continues to provide vital medical services to more than 1.1 million people in the United States living with HIV.”

White was from Indiana and was just 13 years old when he was diagnosed with AIDS. After getting a blood transfusion in 1984, he was given six months to live. Ryan outlived that diagnosis and passed away in 1990.

He also praised PEPFAR, a U.S. effort that seeks to distribute antiviral drugs globally, primarily in Africa. Pence recalled his support in 2003 as U.S. House member for the program when then-President George W. Bush created the initiative.

Pence said the Trump administration will invest $100 million in new resources to expand our engagement with faith-based organizations and communities of faith “on the frontlines of the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

“This new investment of $100 million in faith-based organizations will increase the funding to those organizations by a full third,” Pence said. “And this will make a world of difference, we believe, in countless lives affected by this disease.”

 

(PHOTO: Michael NGan/Getty Images)

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