Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today released the following statement marking World AIDS Day, which is observed every December 1st:
"Each year on World AIDS Day, we reflect upon the friends and loved ones we've lost as well as the progress we've made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Since the disease was first identified, thousands of Memphians have died from HIV/AIDS, and thousands more live with the disease daily. African-Americans and women account for the largest share of new HIV cases, but we should remember that the disease does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
"We've come a long way since the dark days when HIV patients were stigmatized in the media on the rare occasions they were even mentioned at all. Today, a diagnosis of HIV is no longer a death sentence. But that's only true for those who have access to the expensive life-saving drugs that keep the virus from advancing to its terminal stage. In Sub-Saharan Africa and other undeveloped parts of the world, the spread of HIV is still rising at epidemic levels.
"I've traveled to Africa and witnessed firsthand the devastation that HIV/AIDS is having as it sweeps through communities and villages across the continent. As we celebrate the progress we've made battling the disease at home in our own communities, let us remember that we must continue to redouble our national and international efforts to combat AIDS and other infectious diseases."