A red ribbon is hung from the North Portico of the White House on Nov. 30, 2011 to mark World AIDS Day, December 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Today, in his remarks on World AIDS Day, President Obama carried forward the legacy of American leadership on HIV/AIDS by announcing an increased commitment by his Administration to combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic globally and fighting the epidemic at home.
In his remarks at the ONE campaign and (RED)'s Beginning of the End of AIDS event at The George Washington University, President Obama described the many positive steps his Administration has taken to combat HIV/AIDS, including releasing the first ever comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy, reauthorizing the Ryan White CARE Act, and lifting the HIV entry ban.
But there is more work to be done. In his own words:
When new infections among young black gay men increase by nearly 50 percent in 3 years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter. When Latinos are dying sooner than other groups, and when black women feel forgotten, even though they account for most of the new cases among women, then we've got to do more.
So this fight is not 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 is not over for them, it's not over for their families, and as a consequence, it can't be over for anybody in this room -- and it certainly isn't over for your President.
Today, the President announced critically important new commitments, including an additional $15 million for the Ryan White program that supports care provided by HIV medical clinics across the country and an additional $35 million for state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs.
In terms of the global fight, the President also announced new goals of getting antiretroviral drugs to an additional 2 million people around the world, including HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent them from passing the virus to their children.
In concluding his remarks, the President said:
And on this World AIDS Day, here's my message to everybody who is out there:
To the global community -- we ask you to join us. Countries that have committed to the Global Fund need to give the money that they promised. Countries that haven't made a pledge, they need to do so. That includes countries that in the past might have been recipients, but now are in a position to step up as major donors. China and other major economies are in a position now to transition in a way that can help more people.
To Congress -- keep working together and keep the commitments you've made intact. At a time when so much in Washington divides us, the fight against this disease has united us across parties and across presidents. And it shows that we can do big things when Republicans and Democrats put their common humanity before politics. So we need to carry that spirit forward.
And to all Americans -- we've got to keep fighting. Fight for every person who needs our help today, but also fight for every person who didn't live to see this moment; for the Rock Hudsons and the Arthur Ashes, and every person who woke us up to the reality of HIV/AIDS. We've got to fight for Ryan White and his mother Jeanne, and the Ray brothers, and every person who forced us to confront our destructive prejudices and our misguided fears. Fight for Magic Johnson and Mary Fisher, and every man, woman and child, who, when told they were going to die from this disease, they said, "No, we're not. We're going to live."
Keep fighting for all of them because we can end this pandemic. We can beat this disease. We can win this fight. We just have to keep at it, steady, persistent -- today, tomorrow, every day until we get to zero. And as long as I have the honor of being your President, that's what this administration is going to keep doing. That's my pledge. That's my commitment to all of you. And that's got to be our promise to each other -- because we've come so far and we've saved so many lives, we might as well finish the fight.
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