Today President Obama made a bold and important move in combating HIV disease by announcing a new initiative that commits to putting six million people with HIV on treatment globally by 2013 and investing much needed new resources in HIV care and treatment through the Ryan White Program. The president’s new initiative is a critical step toward achieving the “AIDS-free generation” envisioned last month in a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
We are at a pivotal moment in the HIV pandemic where the science shows a clear path for making serious headway against HIV disease. It is well documented that with early and reliable access to HIV care and treatment, people with HIV disease can lead healthy and productive lives. Findings from the National Institutes of Health HPTN 052 study early this year offered clear evidence that in addition to benefiting the HIV-infected individual, HIV treatment also significantly reduces the risk of transmitting HIV infection.
As we mark World AIDS Day and the 30th year since the first documented AIDS cases, we commend the president, and others, like the New York City Health Department, for advancing a comprehensive, evidence-based response to this deadly disease. New York City announced today a change in policy recommending all patients with HIV be offered treatment regardless of their CD4 count, a standard measure of the strength of the immune system.
We now turn to the U.S. Congress to do their part by ensuring that the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented and funded, investing in HIV care and treatment through the Ryan White AIDS Drug Assistance Program and Part C, and sustaining funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. We also call on other heads of state around the world to follow the president’s lead by investing in AIDS now to put us firmly on course for the beginning of the end of the AIDS pandemic.
Also read the Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition World AIDS Day statement.
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