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Mount Pleasant Letter: World AIDS Day Marks Critical Moment In Global Fight

Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- The Mont Pleasant Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Please send letters to mountpleasant@dailyvoice .

To the editor:

We have come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS since the Millennium. Since development goals were first adopted in 2000 through 2013, new HIV infections have fallen by nearly 40 percent.

But the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to affect millions of people around the world and in the U.S, with marginalized communities disproportionately impacted and millions newly infected each year. In some of the hardest hit areas globally, adolescent girls and young women face poverty, gender inequality, exclusion, discrimination, lack of education, and violence, which put them at increased risk of acquiring HIV.

Many don’t realize that Planned Parenthood is a leading educator and provider of HIV testing in the U.S. In 2013 alone (the last year for which data is available), Planned Parenthood health centers provided 704,000 HIV tests nationwide. In 2014, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic health centers and SmartWheels mobile education and testing vans provided 13,100 rapid HIV tests in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and Suffolk Counties.

Yet rather than supporting such needed efforts to end the epidemic in our community, we anticipate that anti-women’s health members of Congress will continue to push for a policy rider that defunds Planned Parenthood in the next round of budget negotiations. Defunding Planned Parenthood really means taking health care—including testing and treatment for STIs like HIV away from the 2.7 million women, men, and young people Planned Parenthood serves each year.

I encourage you to #StandWithPP and support efforts to end HIV/AIDS. Now is the time to move forward, not backward, on this issue which has impacted so many millions around the world. Let’s protect our progress, and double down on our efforts to end this epidemic.

Reina Schiffrin

President/CEO

Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic

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