President-elect Obama released a video message and statement today to mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. While acknowledging that we have made progress, he also points out that we still have a long way to go to defeat HIV/AIDS, both here in the United States and globally.
Official statement from the Obama-Biden Transition Team to mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day
December 1st, 2008
World AIDS Day is a day of both commemoration and promise for the many millions of people around the world who are affected by HIV/AIDS. This year's theme, Leadership, is a particular reminder to me that World AIDS Day cannot be confined to a single day of the year. For that reason, I have committed my administration to developing and implementing a comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce HIV infections, increase access to treatment and care and reduce HIV/AIDS-related health disparities.
Today, the United States faces an alarming rate of HIV/AIDS infections. Through the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, we will set a series of goals to prevent and reduce HIV/AIDS infections and improve treatment throughout the United States, particularly among communities of color which have been disproportionately affected. I will ensure that the federal government is accountable for achieving these goals.
Too many people are unaware that while HIV/AIDS is incurable, it is 100 percent preventable. And far too many people have become infected because they lack basic information about how this disease is spread. I intend to confront the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS - a stigma which is too often tied to racism, sexism and homophobia. That is what Michelle and I tried to do by taking a public HIV test in Kenya a few years ago.
We must engage in honest, open dialogue and reach out to those most at risk. My administration will educate people about HIV/AIDS, ensure people living with HIV/AIDS have access to treatment, and work with Congress to enact an extensive program of prevention, including access to comprehensive age-appropriate sex education for all school age children.
We will also keep faith with the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS around the world by continuing to support the work of the Global AIDS Fund and maintaining our strong leadership through the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief.
And after a year of important work to end HIV/AIDS, World AIDS Day 2009 will offer an opportunity for us to take measure of the progress we have made.
Finally, to all those living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and throughout the world, their families and partners and caregivers, know that I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers today and throughout the coming year.