The U.S. is butting heads with 51 Muslim states ahead of a high-level meeting at the United Nations on eradicating AIDS. In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Egypt and dozens of other Muslim nations requested that several gay and transgender organizations be barred from the event, prompting protests from U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and representatives of Canada and the European Union. Power said the exclusion of LGBT groups would only “impede global progress in combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic” given that members of such groups are “49 times more likely” to be living with the illness. The issue of LGBT rights has long been divisive at the UN, where African and Arab states frequently team up with Russia and China to oppose any support for or cooperation with LGBT groups. In addition to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia, Sudan, and Uganda also sought to restrict LGBT participation in the AIDS conference.