Rep. Barbara Lee and Dazon Dixon Diallo on Confronting the Overlooked AIDS Epidemic in Black America

The 2012 International AIDS Conference has raised hopes that the U.S. will increase its efforts to end the epidemic both globally and here at home, where HIV/AIDS continues to pose a major health threat. Every 10 minutes someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV and many people living with the virus don’t even know it. People of color, especially women and gay men, bear the overwhelming burden of the disease. We’re joined by Dazon Dixon Diallo, a pioneer in the HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice arena; and by Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California, a leader in the global fight against HIV/AIDS and has worked to establish a national AIDS strategy. Lee represents the United States on the U.N. Development Program’s Global Commission on HIV and the Law, and recently introduced H.R. 6138, calling for a global strategy for an AIDS-free generation. “The Affordable Care Act has been a really important part of the success of getting people living with HIV, for whom many are diagnosed with pre-existing conditions, to protect them in health insurance coverage,” says Diallo. “Most states of the states, if not all of the states in the South, are already currently planning to not opt in on medicaid expansion, and so that directly speaks to the level of access to care and the coverage of medications that most people who have low income or live below the poverty level can’t actually afford.”