Washington, DC—Representative Gregory W. Meeks, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today made the following statement marking World AIDS Day:
“World AIDS Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the toll HIV/AIDS has taken on communities around the world, but also to take stock of the progress we’ve made and renew our commitment to the long road ahead. Through bipartisan initiatives such as PEPFAR, and support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the U.S. has been a global leader in combatting this terrible disease. Thanks to PEPFAR, last year nearly 50 million people were tested for HIV, more than 17 million people received life-saving antiretroviral treatment, and 2.8 million babies were born HIV-free. These are remarkable achievements that demonstrate how American leadership and global engagement can deliver transformational change.
“But our work is far from over. The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened incredible progress by straining health systems, limiting access to services, and hurting the global economy. This year, I ensured that $250 million was included in the American Rescue Plan specifically to help PEPFAR address the new challenges COVID poses to combatting HIV. We must address the inequality, stigma, attacks on reproductive rights, and other challenges that even today, enable the spread of the AIDS epidemic, and disproportionately affect historically marginalized communities, including LGBTQI+ and people of color.
“We must make sure that we don’t lose the hard-fought gains in the prevention and treatment of HIV over the years. I look forward to working with the Biden Administration to continue U.S. support of an AIDS-free world, including the U.S. hosting the next replenishment for the Global Fund. Together, we can defeat HIV once and for all.”