Sebelius Calls for AIDS ‘Education Campaign That Helps Reduce Homophobia or Promotes Gender Equality’

July 24, 2012 - 2:38 PM
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and HRC president Chad Griffin

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius meets with Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin, at the release of the HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index 2012 on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. (Photo by Judy Rolfe/HRC)

(CNSNews.com) – Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaking at the opening session of the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., said the key to helping someone stay on their HIV treatment might be “an education campaign that helps reduce homophobia or promotes gender equality.”

Sebelius, who spoke on Sunday about what strategy is needed to achieve “an AIDS-free generation,” including educating people about “homophobia.” She touted how the “historic health care legislation,” or Obamacare, will eliminate pre-existing conditions so that more people with HIV/AIDS can have access to treatment.

“And we must recognize that the health care system can’t do this alone,” Sebelius said. “The key intervention that helps someone stay on their HIV treatment might be substance abuse counseling to help deal with an addiction. 

“It might be protection from an abusive partner,” Sebelius said. “It might be an education campaign that helps reduce homophobia or promotes gender equality. 

“Our goal should be to do whatever is necessary to help get and keep people in life-saving treatment,” Sebelius said.

The conference is taking place in the U.S. for the first time in decades after President Barack Obama lifted the travel and immigration ban on HIV-positive individuals in 2009 after the ban was in place for 22 years.

“And I want to give a special welcome to those living with HIV/AIDS who’ve traveled here from around the world,” Sebelius said. “The HIV entry ban was a bad policy based on faulty science that ran contrary to America’s deepest values. 

“We are proud that the Obama Administration overturned it, and we are proud to be your hosts once again,” Sebelius said.