Marking the 23rd anniversary of World AIDS Day, President Obama today announced a deepened U.S. commitment to fighting the pandemic, declaring “make no mistake, we are going to win this fight.”
“Today is a remarkable day. Today, we come together, as a global community, across continents, faiths and cultures, to renew our commitment to ending the AIDS pandemic – once and for all,” Obama said at a World AIDS Day event at George Washington University.
The president announced a realignment of existing funds to provide an additional $50 million to combat HIV and AIDS and set a new goal to help six million people get on treatment by the end of 2013, two million more than the original target.
Obama also urged countries that have committed to give money to the Global Fund to live up to their promises. “That includes China and other major economies that are now able to step up as major donors,” he said.
Over the last three decades, the global pandemic has claimed 30 million lives. While the rate of new infections is going down elsewhere, the president noted it’s not declining in America.
“The infection rate here has been holding steady for over a decade. There are communities in this country being devastated still by this disease. When new infections among young, black, gay men increase by nearly fifty percent in three years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter. When Latinos are dying sooner than other groups; when black women feel forgotten even though they account for most of the new cases among women, we need to do more,” he said.
“This fight isn’t over. Not for the 1.2 million Americans who are living with HIV right now. Not for the Americans who are infected every day. This fight isn’t over for them. It isn’t over for their families. It isn’t over for anyone in this room. And it certainly isn’t over for your President,” Obama declared.
Today’s event, entitled “The Beginning of the End of AIDS,” was sponsored by the ONE and (Red) campaigns and featured remarks from Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, via satellite, and was attended by well-known activists, including U2 lead singer Bono and singer Alicia Keys.