During comments made at the 2012 International AIDS Conference held in Washington, D.C. this week, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said that an AIDS-free generation is possible as long as everyone continues to work to make progress in fighting the global epidemic.
"Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic first surfaced more than 30 years ago, it has become one the world's greatest public health challenges. Nevertheless, recent scientific advances in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention along with continuing evidence of the ability to scale-up key interventions, show there is great potential to change the course of HIV/AIDS in our nation and across the world," said Senator Enzi. "Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle must work towards the goal of an AIDS-free generation. This is possible if we continue to strengthen our most effective programs targeting HIV/AIDS, both here in the U.S and abroad."
Senator Enzi noted that despite investments in treatment and prevention, more than 50,000 new HIV infections occur each year. An estimated 1.2 million adults and adolescents are living with HIV in the US, and 20 percent living with HIV are not even aware of their status. Senator Enzi emphasized that reauthorizing the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) would represent a strong commitment by our nation to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS worldwide. This program, along with the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, would ensure that Americans living with HIV/AIDS have access to the most effective quality care and treatment. In May, Senator Enzi made his most recent trip to Africa to further discuss the importance of continuing HIV/AIDS funding abroad and to focus our resources on the most effective programs.
"We have seen extremely promising results from a variety of research studies lately, and they give me hope that we will continue the momentum in the fight against HIV/AIDS around the world," Senator Enzi said. "After we have come so far, we must not lose our sense of urgency in conquering this epidemic."