On World AIDS Day, we recognize the millions of people impacted by HIV/AIDS – the lives lost and the families forever torn apart by this disease. We also acknowledge the heroic and life-saving work of partners from governments, the private sector, civil society, and faith-based organizations across the world.
I have been involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS since my days in the Senate, and I have never been more hopeful than I am today, as long as we keep up our efforts. Today, a disease that once seemed impossible to stop is in retreat.
Since 2003, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for 9.5 million men, women, and children across the world. And thanks to President Obama’s leadership, bipartisan support in Congress, and the generosity of the American people, that number will grow to 12.9 people by the end of 2017. That’s an extraordinary achievement that all Americans can be proud of.
Even as we mark the progress we’ve made, we recognize that the months and years ahead will be critical. There are still over 20 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS, without any treatment at all. Experts tell us that we have a five-year window to fundamentally change the trajectory of the HIV/AIDS epidemic – to accelerate the progress we’ve made and stop HIV/AIDS in its tracks.
Today, encouraged by the progress we have made and determined to keep up the fight, we reaffirm our commitment to achieving an AIDS-free generation, and to ending the AIDS epidemic once and for all by 2030.