Following President Trump’s global gag order, which, he says, will ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars will not fund programs that support abortion or involuntary sterilization, there is growing concern about the consequences it will have for HIV-positive people across the globe.
The memorandum, known as the “Mexico City Policy,” or the global gag rule, will withdraw funding from organizations and programs that provide abortions and related resources. But as a result, it poses a health concern for programs providing resources and care to individuals who are HIV-positive.
The main concern is around antiretroviral drugs. As a result of the order, healthcare programs around the world could lose crucial U.S. funding and potentially put HIV-positive individuals at risk.
“Without this antiretroviral therapy, HIV progresses into AIDS and causes certain death,” Adrienne Lucas, associate professor of economics at the University of Delaware, said to Delaware Public Media. “So, if clinics that have been providing this much needed therapy are no longer able to because they provide other services and might speak to their clients about abortions, what this means is then those clinics would no longer would be able to receive US funding, would no longer be able to provide these drugs, and that would mean that potentially millions of people would die from AIDS.”
According to HIV.gov, 36 million people are living with HIV in the world. Trump’s order could put a great amount of people at risk; not to mention, halt the progression of HIV education and prevention — all of which stretch further than only sharing resources with at-risk individuals. It impacts families, friends, and coworkers of those who are living with HIV or are affected by HIV.
Having educational and preventative resources available are imperative when thinking of proper knowledge of transmission, social support for all involved, and guardianship of youth. Many US funded organizations offer these methods along with patient care.
With the gag order reinstated, people’s physical lives are not only in danger, but also their overall health and wellbeing of the individual and their families and friends.
It’s time we wake up.