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Pres. Obama proclaims Dec. 1 World AIDS Day

  • BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
    A PROCLAMATION
    Thirty-five years ago the first documented cases of AIDS
    brought about an era of uncertainty, fear, and discrimination.
    HIV/AIDS has taken tens of millions of lives -- and far too many
    people with HIV have struggled to get the care, treatment, and
    compassion they deserve. But in the decades since those first
    cases, with ingenuity, leadership, research, and historic
    investments in evidence-based practices, we have begun to move
    toward an era of resilience and hope -- and we are closer than
    ever to reaching an AIDS-free generation. On World AIDS Day, we
    join with the international community to remember those we have
    lost too soon, reflect on the tremendous progress we have made
    in battling this disease, and carry forward our fight against
    HIV/AIDS.
    By shining a light on this issue and educating more
    communities about the importance of testing and treatment, we
    have saved and improved lives. Although we have come far in
    recent decades, our work is not yet done and the urgency to
    intervene in this epidemic is critical. In the United States,
    more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV. Gay and
    bisexual men, transgender people, youth, black and Latino
    Americans, people living in the Southern United States, and
    people who inject drugs are at a disproportionate risk. People
    living with HIV can face stigma and discrimination, creating
    barriers to prevention and treatment services.
    My Administration has made significant efforts to fight
    HIV/AIDS, including by encouraging treatment as prevention,
    expanding access to pre-exposure prophylaxis, eliminating
    waiting lists for medication assistance programs, and working
    toward a vaccine. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, no one can
    be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions like HIV, and
    millions of people can now access quality, affordable health
    insurance plans that cover important services like HIV testing
    and screening. In 2010, I introduced the first comprehensive
    National HIV/AIDS Strategy in the United States, and last year,
    through an Executive Order, I updated it to serve as a guiding
    path to 2020. This update builds on the primary goals of the
    original Strategy, including reducing the number of HIV-infected
    individuals and HIV-related health disparities, improving health
    outcomes for anyone living with HIV and increasing their access
    to care, and strengthening our coordinated national response
    to this epidemic.
  • Currently, more than 36 million people, including
    1.8 million children, are living with HIV/AIDS across the
    globe, and the majority of people living with HIV reside in low-
    to middle-income countries. We need to do more to reach those
    who are at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS, and the United States
    is helping shape the world's response to this crisis and working
    alongside the international community to end this epidemic by
    2030. We have strengthened and expanded the President's
    Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with now more than
    $70 billion invested, to accelerate our progress and work to
    control this epidemic with comprehensive and data-focused
    efforts. With PEPFAR support for more than 11 million people on
    life-saving treatment and through contributions to the Global
    Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria -- including a new
    pledge of more than $4 billion through 2019 -- there are now
    more than 18 million people getting HIV treatment and care.
    Because in sub-Saharan Africa young women and adolescent girls
    are over eight times more likely to get HIV/AIDS than young men,
    we launched a comprehensive prevention program to reduce HIV
    infections among this population in 10 sub-Saharan African
    countries. This summer, PEPFAR established an innovative
    investment fund to expand access to quality HIV/AIDS services
    for key populations affected by the epidemic and reduce the
    stigma and discrimination that persists. We have also helped
    prevent millions of new infections worldwide, including in more
    than 1.5 million babies of HIV-positive mothers who were born
    free of HIV. By translating groundbreaking research and
    scientific tools into action, for the first time we are seeing
    early but promising signs of controlling the spread of HIV.
    Accelerating the progress we have made will require
    sustained commitment and passion from every sector of society
    and across every level of government around the world. A future
    where no individual has to suffer from HIV/AIDS is within our
    reach, and today, we recommit to ensuring the next generation
    has the tools they need to continue fighting this disease. Let
    us strive to support all people living with HIV/AIDS and
    rededicate ourselves to ending this epidemic once and for all.
    Together, we can achieve what once seemed impossible and give
    more people the chance at a longer, brighter, AIDS-free future.
    NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the
    United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in
    me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do
    hereby proclaim December 1, 2016, as World AIDS Day. I urge
    the Governors of the States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
    officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction
    of the United States, and the American people to join me in
    appropriate activities to remember those who have lost their
    lives to AIDS and to provide support and compassion to those
    living with HIV.
    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
    thirtieth day of November, in the year of our Lord
    two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the
    United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.
    BARACK OBAMA