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Public Statements

Making HIV/AIDS a Memory


Location: Washington, DC

Thanks to President Obama lifting the HIV travel ban, the International AIDS Conference returned to the United States for the first time since San Francisco hosted it in 1990 -- opening the doors to over 25,000 leaders, advocates, doctors, and researchers from San Francisco and around the world. We gathered in our nation's capitol to demonstrate, clearly and unequivocally, that the world is united in our effort to turn the tide together against AIDS.

Twenty-five years ago, in my first floor speech in Congress, I said that I came to Congress to fight AIDS. San Francisco was ground zero for the AIDS' assault -- on our health, economy and community; on the lives of our friends. We found comfort in the AIDS quilt, and renewal and remembrance in the National AIDS Memorial Grove. We knew we had to organize, not just agonize -- and organize, not agonize, we did.

In Congress, I worked to pass the Ryan White Care Act, institute the Minority AIDS Initiative, authorize and fund the Global Fund, establish PEPFAR and double funding for global health from $4 billion to $8 billion per year. Now, with the Affordable Care Act, we are delivering substantial protections to people with HIV and AIDS.

We leave the Aids Conference with increased optimism -- whether about advancements in science or prevention of mother-to-child transmissions. Yet that cannot make us complacent; it must heighten our resolve.

We have an obligation to be innovative and courageous in our thinking about prevention, treatment, and a cure. Where there is scientific opportunity, we have a moral obligation to fund it. Where there is discrimination, we have an obligation to end it. Together, we must, and will, make AIDS no more than a memory.

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