U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today in commemoration of World AIDS Day:
"Today is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to combating this disease and show our support to those who continue to suffer from it.
"I am proud of what we have collectively achieved in fighting this scourge. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), initiated by former President George W. Bush, has helped save millions of lives. Last year alone, we helped to prevent more than 114,000 new infections among newborn babies, reached over 33 million people with voluntary counseling and testing services, and supported lifesaving treatment for 3.2 million people worldwide.
"While we are optimistic about the future, we are conscious of the work that lies ahead. New infections continue to outpace our ability to treat those already infected. In Miami-Dade County, more than 22,000 people live with this horrible disease.
"The U.S. cannot fight this battle alone. It is important that our allies and partners continue to work with us in the struggle against this epidemic. During this time of economic uncertainty, we must also demand greater efficiency from our programs and ensure that they are benefiting those most in need.
"I commend the progress we have made in this struggle, but there is still more to be done. Our success will be measured in lives saved."