United States: Global AIDS Coordinator’s Office Replies to IGLHRC’s Letter

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has received a response to its March 27, 2009 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. IGLHRC’s letter called for a more inclusive approach to U.S. sexual and reproductive health policy overseas and for the appointment of a Global AIDS Coordinator prepared to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health and rights worldwide.

In the letter from the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator’s office, Acting Deputy Coordinator and Chief of Staff Thomas J. Walsh noted that Dr. Eric Goosby, “a world renowned expert and leader in the fight against AIDS,” had been appointed as the new Global AIDS Coordinator and is awaiting Senate confirmation.

Indicating that the new administration might be open to policy change on PEPFAR, Walsh emphasized that, “As the first order of business, Secretary of State Clinton will direct Dr. Goosby, if confirmed, to undertake a comprehensive strategic review of PEPFAR funding and programs.” In the coming years, Walsh noted that, “Dr. Goosby and the interagency PEPFAR team will redouble the focus on prevention and explore options to bolster PEPFAR’s prevention programming.” Walsh added that, “PEPFAR is committed to supporting activities that address the HIV/AIDS needs of LGBT populations.”

IGLHRC has been deeply concerned by recent announcements that funding for the next reauthorization of PEPFAR has not been increased despite a clear need for more funding for HIV and AIDS programs, especially those targeting same-sex practicing people.

The organization is, however, encouraged by the responsiveness of the State Department and the Global AIDS Coordinator’s Office specifically and will try to set up a meeting with Dr. Goosby at the earliest possible opportunity, hoping to discuss the inadequacy of current PEPFAR funding dedicated to programs for same-sex practicing people. IGLHRC will also continue to lobby the Obama administration to increase funding for HIV programs for LGBT communities worldwide, to encourage governments to end laws and policies that increase vulnerability to HIV and other disease, and to discontinue funding anyone who perpetuates human rights abuses against LGBT people.

To read IGLHRC’s letter to Secretary of State Clinton, click here. To read IGLHRC’s press release on the same issue, click here. To read PEPFAR’s response to IGLHRC, click here.