President Obama, in video remarks for World AIDS Day, struck a hopeful tone about the possibility of ending AIDS, but cautioned that that will only happen if we continue the fight.
“We’re closer than we’ve ever been to achieving the extraordinary: an AIDS-free generation,” Obama said in the video released today. “But we’ve got to keep fighting, all of us. Governments, businesses, foundations, community groups, and individuals like you.”
He pointed to the work being done globally under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which is helping to provide treatment to 7.7 million people worldwide. In the 2014 fiscal year, PEPFAR also supported HIV testing and counseling for more than 56.7 million people.
Secretary of State John Kerry also touted PEPFAR at a White House event today, The Hill reports. “Of all the things that the United States can take pride in, this has to be one of the single biggest and most important,” he said.
Kerry announced a new partnership between PEPFAR and the nonprofit Millennium Challenge Corp. to create databases in each country served to gather information on cases of HIV and AIDS and to assure transparency about how funds are being spent.
Additionally, he announced significant new funding for training doctors and nurses in treatment and prevention of HIV, and a commitment over the next two years to double the number of children on HIV medication in the hardest-hit portions of Africa.
Today the federal government also released a National HIV/AIDS Strategy progress report, which noted domestic advances such as increases in the percentage of HIV-positive people who know their status, expanded access to treatment under the Affordable Care Act, the redirection of funds to community-based groups, and integration of behavioral health care into HIV services. Read a fact sheet here and the full report here.
Watch Obama’s remarks below, or read the prepared statement in full on the next page.