Statements by HHS Leaders Commemorating World AIDS Day on December 1, 2021
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) joins the international community in commemorating World AIDS Day 2021. The theme for this year’s observance is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice.” Observed annually on December 1, this day is dedicated to people across the world uniting in the response to HIV, including people with and at risk for HIV, and to reflect on those who have died from AIDS-related illness.
Despite the progress made over the last four decades, HHS recognizes that HIV is still a serious public health challenge and supports the White House in the release of an updated national strategy. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy—our nation’s third consecutive national HIV strategy—serves as a roadmap with bold targets for ending the HIV epidemic in the United States and reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities to put equity at the center of the response and include a more robust government and whole-of-society approach.
The Strategy also aligns with and complements the ongoing federal Ending the HIV in the U.S. initiative, which—like the Strategy—focuses on ending the U.S. HIV epidemic by 2030.
As this year’s World AIDS Day theme reminds us, there is work still ahead to achieve equitable access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment in every community. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine, and U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy issued the following statements to commemorate World AIDS Day and address its importance:
“As we unite across the world to remember the more than 36 million people globally—including 700,000 in the United States—who have died from AIDS-related illnesses, we remain committed to the goal of ending the HIV epidemic. World AIDS Day is a time to reflect on the past, honor the progress and advances made in HIV testing, research, prevention, care, and treatment, and focus on a future of achieving sustained epidemic control of HIV by supporting equitable health services and solutions which are at the core of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.”– Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra
“Today, we remember and honor those we have lost to HIV, reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to the attainable goal of ending the HIV epidemic, and support the nearly 38 million people with HIV globally. We recognize that there is more work to be done. I am optimistic that, together, we can achieve our goal by renewing efforts around equitable access to services for people living with or at risk for HIV, particularly those from disproportionately affected groups and communities; working to prevent new infections; and addressing health disparities to ensure equity for all people.”– U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health, ADM Rachel Levine
“Just a few decades ago, we could only dream of a world where we had the tools we needed to prevent and treat HIV. We’ve come a long way since then—but as we recognize our progress, we must renew our commitment to equity. On this World AIDS Day, let’s remember the lives we’ve lost, acknowledge longstanding gaps in health care access, and work toward a future in which everyone can lead a life of good health and dignity.” – U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy