President Clinton Joins International Religious and Domestic AIDS Policy Leaders to Mark World AIDS Day
Today, President Clinton will join international religious leaders at Howard University to mark World AIDS Day. At this event, he will unveil the first ever National Institutes of Health strategic plan for international AIDS research, a blueprint for establishing new funding approaches and research opportunities in over 50 countries. He also will release a new report from the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, entitled Action Against AIDS: A Legacy of Leadership at Home and Around the World detailing the Administration's successes in fighting the AIDS epidemic. The President also will urge the Congress to finish the job on the Appropriations bills and fund critical domestic and international HIV/AIDS funding priorities, including domestic and international AIDS prevention and treatment programs, creating a new vaccine tax credit, the Ryan White CARE Act, and investing in HIV/AIDS research.
The Changing Face of the AIDS Epidemic Continues to Present New Challenges
The spread of AIDS in the United States has slowed, but national challenges remain. The most recent data indicates that HIV/AIDS mortality has declined more than 70 percent since 1995. However, each year, 40,000 Americans become infected with HIV -- more than 110 a day. Half of new HIV infections in the U.S. are estimated to occur among young people under the age of 25, and the number of new AIDS cases among women, minorities, and adolescents has increased considerably since the early 1990s. Since the epidemic began in 1981, more than 700,000 Americans have been diagnosed with AIDS, and more than 420,000 men, women, and children have lost their lives to the disease. An estimated 800,000 to 900,000 Americans are now believed to be living with HIV.
The AIDS pandemic is a worldwide threat. During nearly two decades of AIDS, HIV has infected 57 million men, women and children worldwide -- and that number is projected to reach 100 million by 2005. Nearly 22 million people have died of AIDS, with 3 million deaths just last year. Over 13 million children under 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS, and the total number of AIDS orphans is expected to exceed 40 million by 2010. HIV/AIDS is now the fourth leading cause of death worldwide and the single leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 36 million people around the world are living with HIV -- often with little or no access to even basic care and support.
President Clinton Announces First Ever NIH Strategic Plan for International AIDS Research
Today, the National Institutes of Health will release the first ever strategic plan for international AIDS research, a blueprint for establishing new funding approaches and research opportunities in over 50 countries. This plan, which invests over $100 million in FY 2001, will:
- Establish new funding approaches and new research opportunities for researchers overseas;
- Provide training and infrastructure support for strengthening international research participation;
- Provide funding for development of new prevention strategies;
- Support international conferences and workshops with scholarships for scientists from developing nations;
- Help ensure that new research findings are applied in countries with the greatest need; and
- Address obstacles to conducting international research.
President Clinton Releases a New Report Detailing the Progress That Has Been Made and the Work That Needs to Be Done
Today, President Clinton will release a new report describing the Administration's progress in addressing the AIDS epidemic, both nationally and abroad, and underscore that there is still more work to do. The report details the Administration's longstanding commitment to HIV/AIDS research, prevention, and treatment, including:
Strong steps to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS at home. Since 1993, the Clinton-Gore Administration has more than doubled spending on research, prevention and treatment to a total of $12 billion in FY 2001; taken strong steps to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in HIV and AIDS; strengthened the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides treatment to 500,000 people with HIV and AIDS nationwide; led the search for an AIDS vaccine with the largest single vaccine research program worldwide; accelerated AIDS drugs approvals; and expanding access to health insurance for individuals with HIV and AIDS through the Work Incentives Improvement Act.
Committed domestic investment has shown dividends, but more work needs to be done. The most recent data indicates that HIV/AIDS mortality has declined more than 70 percent since 1995, and new infections resulting from mother-to-child transmission have declined by 75 percent. In 1996, for the first time in the history of the AIDS epidemic, the number of Americans diagnosed with AIDS declined, and AIDS deaths dropped 20 percent between 1997 and 1998. However, the number of new AIDS cases among women, minorities, and adolescents has increased considerably, indicating that effective and well-targeted prevention efforts are still crucially important, and increased access to health care remains essential, as does the search for more and better treatments and a vaccine.
Serving as a strong international partner. The Clinton-Gore Administration expects to triple funding for international AIDS programs in just two years. Under the leadership of the Clinton-Gore Administration, the United States launched the LIFE (Leadership and Investment in Fighting an Epidemic) initiative to enhance our multi-sectoral efforts to combat AIDS, pioneered voluntary HIV testing and counseling in Africa, and helped to created the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The Administration has taken executive action to make HIV/AIDS related drugs and medical technologies more affordable and accessible in sub-Saharan Africa; is training 2400 Peace Corps volunteers in Africa as HIV/AIDS educators; accelerated the development of the public health infrastructure necessary to deliver critical care for HIV/AIDS; and appointed the first ever Presidential Envoy for AIDS Cooperation.
President Clinton Urges the Congress to Act Now to Fund Critical HIV/AIDS Research, Prevention, and Treatment Priorities
Today, President Clinton will urge the Congress to finish the job on the FY 2001 Appropriations bill and fund critical international and domestic priorities on HIV and AIDS, including: an investment of $116 million for international AIDS programs at the Department of Health and Human Services; enactment of a $1 billion vaccine tax credit; an investment of more than $2.1 billion in AIDS related research at NIH; an investment of $418 million in domestic HIV prevention activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and a $228 million increase in funding for the Ryan White Program, an increase of 14 percent over last year's funding level.
See also Remarks by the President on World AIDS Day.