Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) announced the introduction of H.Res. 713, expressing support for the XIX International AIDS conference (AIDS 2012) and the goal of bringing renewed awareness of, and commitment to, addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States and abroad. AIDS 2012 will take place from July 22, 2012, through July 27, 2012, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Organized by the International AIDS Society (IAS), AIDS 2012 is expected to convene more than 20,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries, including 2,000 journalists.
"For over 25 years, the International AIDS Conference has brought together the world's leading scientists, public health experts, policymakers, community leaders, and persons living with HIV/AIDS in order to address the major issues facing the global response to HIV/AIDS and facilitate a collective strategy forward. AIDS 2012 is a tremendous opportunity to further strengthen the role of the United States in global HIV/AIDS initiatives and focus attention on the devastating impact that HIV is having on different communities across the country. Furthermore, this year's conference is of particular significance, as it represents the return of the International AIDS Conference to the United States after a misguided travel and immigration ban against people with HIV was lifted in 2010.
"This resolution recognizes the importance of AIDS 2012 in the global effort to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic and create an 'AIDS-free generation.' It also supports a stronger international response to HIV/AIDS that seeks to foster greater scientific and programmatic collaborations around the world in order to prevent the transmission of HIV, increase access to testing, treatment, and care, and improve health outcomes for all people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition, my resolution maintains that protecting human rights, advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, and addressing stigma, poverty, and other societal challenges are key to overcoming HIV/AIDS, while encouraging the ongoing development of innovative therapies and advances in clinical treatment for HIV/AIDS in the public and private sectors.
"Continued commitment by the United States to HIV/AIDS research, prevention, and treatment programs is crucial to protecting global health. We are closer to a future without HIV/AIDS today than ever before. Working together with all stakeholders throughout the international community, we have the means to change the course of the crisis and bring an end to HIV/AIDS once and for all. What we need now is leadership and solidarity."
Congressman Hastings is a member of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus and continues working to support policies and legislation that address barriers to HIV testing and access to care. In the 112th Congress, he introduced H.R. 1774, the Increasing Access to Voluntary Screening for HIV/AIDS and STIs Act of 2011, which establishes a broad policy for voluntary HIV/AIDS and STI screening that focuses on at-risk and historically underrepresented communities. Additionally, Congressman Hastings supports robust funding for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, the National AIDS Strategy, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and other efforts to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States and abroad.