Thank you for inviting me to speak at this critically important event.
More than 1.2 million people in the United States currently live with HIV/AIDS, and more than one in five who are positive are not even aware of their status.
That is why I applaud the National Association of People with AIDS, or NAPWA, for advocating for increased testing.
All Americans need to know their HIV status and, if diagnosed as HIV-positive, receive immediate care and treatment.
Tomorrow is National HIV Testing Day and I urge all Americans to join the Take the Test, Take Control campaign and get tested!
A safe, simple, and anonymous HIV test can help protect you and your loved ones.
Testing is how we make sure that the sick get treatment and it is also how we stop the spread of this disease.
I recognize that that barriers to treatment and prevention persist but we cannot truly address those barriers unless people know their status.
Together we have accomplished a lot, but there is still a long way to go.
As Congresswoman Barbara Lee and I wrote in our recent letter to Secretary Sibelius and Director Munoz, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is particularly critical in the South, among women, and especially among women of color.
Infection and fatality rates are unacceptably high in these communities. Too many struggle for access to the care they need to control the disease and prevent new infections.
This situation demands that we address how racism, poverty, sexism, stigma, and location contribute to this public health crisis.
Fortunately, NAPWA and others are working hard to solve this problem.
Thank you for joining us here today. Working together, we will find solutions to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and leave a better future for the next generation.
That healthy future starts with getting tested today.