WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, today made the following statement marking World AIDS Day:
“On World AIDS Day, we honor the memory of those who have lost the battle against HIV/AIDS and recommit to eliminating this disease.
“Thirty years ago, a person infected with HIV often died less than one year after being diagnosed with AIDS. Today, with early and sustained treatment, a person living with HIV might have a normal lifespan. The United States has been a leader in this effort, especially through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Thanks to PEPFAR, more than 74 million people have received HIV testing and counseling, and nearly 11.5 million have begun life-saving treatment. PEPFAR has won overwhelming bipartisan support for more than a decade, and I hope the next Administration will continue this commitment.
“While these are significant gains, we have not made nearly as much progress in other areas, such as ending the stigma and discrimination that threaten our accomplishments and human rights. Tanzania, for example, has recently banned aid programs that protect gay men from HIV/AIDS. We must also refocus our efforts on young women, who account for 75 percent of new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. These girls need the tools to protect themselves and secure a healthy future.
“This World AIDS Day, we celebrate our successes and redouble our efforts to make an AIDS-free generation a reality.”
In September 2013, Rep. Engel introduced the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act (H.R.3177), which extended key aspects of the President’s PEPFAR program for five years. President Obama signed identical legislation (S.1545) into law a day after World AIDS Day 2013.