Dear legislators: Put our money where your pledge is on defeating HIV/AIDS

Early this week, a news alert from The New York Times proclaimed, “H.I.V. Is Reported Cured in a Second Patient, a Milestone in the Global AIDS Epidemic.”

According to the story: “For just the second time since the global epidemic began, a patient appears to have been cured of infection with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. The news comes nearly 12 years to the day after the first patient known to be cured, a feat that researchers have long tried, and failed, to duplicate. The surprise success now confirms that a cure for H.I.V. infection is possible, if difficult, researchers said.”

What an amazing and wonderful thing. Could this be it? What does it mean?

It means is the U.S. government needs to be called on the carpet if it doesn’t follow through on the vow President Trump made in his State of the Union address in February.

“My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years,” Trump said in the speech. “We have made incredible strides. Together, we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond.”

Well, the news above might be the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for, so it’s time to pony up the money.

It’s not fine to say this is a goal and do nothing. The Trump administration has actually stripped resources from AIDS funding and research. Congress must turn the tide and get this done.

Simply designating some money is not enough. We can’t have the status quo with drugs and treatments available that only certain people can access. If a cure is indeed near, it cannot mean only the wealthiest among us get it.

As backwards as this may sound, having no cure may be more desirable than having a cure that only a privileged few can get. (Wonder how many LGBTQ Americans are among the privileged few?) Otherwise, we’re just dangling a carrot before those who need it and can’t reach it — which is cruel.

If treatments exist and someday a cure is found, it should not matter what the patient’s socio-economic situation or LGBTQ status is. The cure must be for everyone.

Demand that your members of Congress see this through. While this is a time when there are so many priorities on which to focus energies, this has to be one of them.