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Letter: Planned Parenthood stopping HIV/AIDS

A police officer from the counterterrorism department

A police officer from the counterterrorism department stands guard outside Planned Parenthood on Nov. 30, 2015 in New York City. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

We have come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS [“Bill de Blasio, Andrew Cuomo pitch efforts to fight AIDS,” News, Dec. 2]. After the United Nations adopted Millennium Development Goals in 2000, new HIV infections fell by roughly 40 percent through 2013. But the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to affect millions of people, with marginalized communities disproportionately harmed.

Many don’t realize that Planned Parenthood is a leading educator and provider of HIV testing. In 2013, the last year for which data are 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 support such needed efforts, members of Congress who oppose women’s health will likely 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 sexually transmitted infections like HIV — away from the 2.7 million women, men and young people Planned Parenthood serves each year.

Let’s protect our progress and double down on our efforts to end this epidemic.

Reina Schiffrin, Hawthorne

Editor’s note: The writer is the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic.