U.S. Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, co-author of legislation to expand U.S. efforts to curb the worldwide pandemics of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, praised today's expected House passage of the Lantos-Hyde Act as "an opportunity to eliminate a grave threat to international security."
Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that an estimated 35 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS, and that an estimated 7,000 new infections occur each day.
"In its wake, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is leaving a trail of poverty, despondency, and death, which has destabilized societies and undermined the security of entire regions," Ros-Lehtinen said.
The Lantos-Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act is expected to be signed into law as early as next week. The legislation reauthorizes the disease prevention and treatment program first enacted in 2003 and crafted by U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA), both of whom formerly served as Chairmen of the Committee.
"Since 2003, millions of people have been treated, and millions more have benefited from HIV prevention programs worldwide," said Ros-Lehtinen. "These successes are truly remarkable, and serve as a testament to all that can be accomplished when we work together in Congress to find solutions to one of the world's most pressing challenges," she added.
"As Americans, we have been given a unique opportunity to help make the world a better place for those who have been victimized by the AIDS pandemic, while simultaneously enhancing our own nation's security. Americans have led by example, and our success has been measured in human lives saved," said Ros-Lehtinen.