Rubio: This World AIDS Day, We Must Recommit to Make AIDS a Disease of the Past
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
December 1, 2017
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As 2017 comes to a close, nearly 37 million people around the world are living with HIV/AIDS. Friday is World AIDS Day and we must recommit to eradicating AIDS, once and for all.
Today we are reminded of the great strides and progress that the United States and the international community have made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We have come so far in fighting this global crisis since the dark early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Now is not the time to retreat from the critical work ahead.
HIV/AIDS impacts people from every region, race, and economic background. From infants to adults, the disease does not discriminate.
While AIDS remains a leading cause of death for adolescents worldwide, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other related programs have been able to move the needle closer to an AIDS-free future.
Currently, PEPFAR is assisting nearly 11.5 million people with lifesaving antiretroviral treatment. As a direct result of PEPFAR’s work, infections have been averted in 2 million babies born to HIV-positive mothers since 2003.
Due to large investments by the United States, new infections of HIV have been dramatically reduced. Every American should be proud of this progress and the millions of lives that have been saved.
I was proud that the Senate Appropriations Committee, on which I serve, fought to maintain funding for PEPFAR and other related programs despite the administration’s proposal to reduce it – a proposal that would have negative impacts across the globe.
Much of the credit for these successful programs goes to former President George W. Bush for launching PEPFAR and to Congress for robustly funding it. In 2018 and onward, the president and Congress should continue to make PEPFAR a priority.
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