FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 30, 2007
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement By Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, On World AIDS Day 2007
World AIDS Day offers all of us an important opportunity to reflect on one of the most important health challenges of our day. AIDS is one of the world’s deadliest diseases, having claimed more than 25 million lives worldwide, while an estimated 33.2 million people are living with HIV today.
This 20th World AIDS day is certainly a time to mourn the loss of those who have fallen to the disease. It is also a time to refocus our efforts in combating this epidemic and celebrate those who are living positively with HIV.
President Bush has made defeating HIV/AIDS a top health priority for the nation both in the United States and abroad.
At home, our programs focus on early testing, providing treatment, and offering counseling and case management for people living with HIV and AIDS. Since 2001, the Administration has devoted more than $89 billion to domestic treatment and care, increasing treatment funding by 47 percent. The Administration has also devoted approximately $18 billion — a 20 percent increase — to HIV/AIDS research to help develop new methods of treatment and prevention.
Abroad, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the single largest financial commitment in history to fight a single disease. In the first five years of the President’s plan, the United States will have contributed more than $15 billion in the effort to treat those with HIV/AIDS, prevent future infections, and care for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. This August, I saw firsthand the devastation HIV/AIDS has wrought on the African continent, but also how much good our support is doing. I’m proud that, this year, the President proposed doubling the PEPFAR commitment to $30 billion over the next five years.
HHS is a key partner in this effort internationally and domestically. Within the department, we have several agencies working to defeat HIV/AIDS. For example:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides highly qualified personnel to help train health care workers, build laboratory, treatment, and testing facilities, and conduct science-based research around the world, and promotes early testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS.
- HHS’ National Institutes of Health (NIH) supports and conducts basic, clinical and behavioral research to better understand the biology of HIV and how it affects the body, develop effective new therapies to treat and control the virus, and design interventions aimed at preventing new infections.
- The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) supports primary health care, life-saving medications and support services for more than a half-million low-income, uninsured and underinsured Americans every year through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which provides – with no waiting lists – medications to one in four HIV-positive people in care.
- Our Office of Minority Health works to help those populations — particularly African Americans and Hispanics — that bear a disproportionate share of suffering from the HIV/AIDS crisis.
These efforts are improving the quality of life for those affected by HIV/AIDS every day, and they are helping to prevent future infections. By working in partnership and renewing our commitment to defeating HIV/AIDS in this country and around the world, we will truly honor this 20th World AIDS Day.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: January 20, 2009