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Hillary Clinton to U.S. AIDS Conference: Now Is the Time

September 16, 2016

On September 15, Dr. Eric Goosby -- the former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator for President Obama who now serves as the UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis -- took the stage at the 2015 U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA), bearing a letter from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

In her written message to those at the event, Clinton reaffirms her vow to convene an "End the Epidemic" working group in the Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy. She also emphasizes her pledges to cap out-of-pocket medical expenses; to expand funding for research, Medicaid coverage and access to PrEP; and to reform HIV criminalization laws.

While she affirms her intention to increase global access to HIV treatment, she continues to not make a specific funding pledge towards this goal, which has been noted and critiqued by advocates in the course of the campaign.

The conference sponsors had also invited presidential candidate Donald Trump to speak but the campaign did not send the candidate, a speaker from his campaign or any message for attendees.

Here is the message from Clinton in full:

Dear Friends:

Please accept my warm greetings as you gather in Hollywood for the 20th year of the United States Conference on AIDS.

The AIDS crisis in America began as a quiet, deadly epidemic -- and because of discrimination and disregard, it remained that way for far too long. When many in positions of power turned a blind eye, activists, advocates, scientists, and many other heroic Americans -- many of whom are gathered for this very conference -- fought with courage and compassion for a national commitment to address the disease. Due to their and your efforts, the United States has made great progress in the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS -- but we still have work to do. There are still 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States today, with about 50,000 people newly diagnosed each year. HIV and AIDS continue to disproportionately impact communities of color, transgender people, young people, and gay and bisexual men. I am heartened to know that one of this year's sessions is focused on the barriers some of these populations face in receiving HIV services.

I have fought for decades to combat HIV and AIDS -- and the stigma and pain that accompany it. As First Lady, I brought together world leaders to strategize and coordinate efforts to take on HIV and AIDS, advocated for increased funding for U.S. prevention and research efforts -- especially for pediatric AIDS -- and honored scientists committed to AIDS research. As Senator, I put forward legislation to expand global AIDS research and assistance and to increase prevention and education; voted for the creation of PEPFAR; voted to defend and protect the Ryan White Act and to increase funding to combat HIV and AIDS; and co-sponsored legislation to extend Medicaid coverage to low-income people living with HIV. As Secretary of State, I launched a campaign to usher in an AIDS-free generation through prevention and treatment; increased American aid directly supporting people on antiretroviral treatment by more than 200 percent; oversaw the repeal of the HIV travel ban, which prevented people with HIV and AIDS from entering the United States; and fought to end mother-to-child transmission.

We have come so far, but we have so much work left to do. Now is the time to adopt aggressive, attainable, and concrete goals. That's why, if I am so fortunate to serve as president, my Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy will immediately convene an "End the Epidemic" working group to engage a wide range of experts, advocates, and stakeholders to adopt ambitious and attainable timelines for ending AIDS as an epidemic in the United States and globally. To meet these timelines, my administration will work to fully implement and strengthen the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. I will also expand our investment in research to accelerate this progress and ensure that significant study questions related to HIV and AIDS are identified, funded, and answered. I will move to cap out-of-pocket medical expenses for people living with HIV and AIDS; expand access to HIV prevention medications, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); fight to extend Medicaid coverage to provide life-saving health care to people living with HIV; reform outdated, stigmatizing HIV criminalization laws; and fight to increase the number of people on HIV treatment worldwide.

Thanks to your enduring commitment, we are closer to an AIDS-free generation than ever before. I remain deeply grateful for your efforts, and stand ready to be your partner in the months and years to come. In the meantime, please know that I am sending my very best wishes for a productive and meaningful conference.

With gratitude and warm regards, I am

Sincerely yours,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

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