25 years ago today, the Centers for Disease Control reported the first known
cases of HIV. A quarter century later in Africa
- the continent hit hardest by the HIV/AIDS epidemic – an estimated 3.2 million
people in the region became newly infected in 2005 while 2.4 million adults and
children lost their lives.
As scientists continue researching and making developments in the fight
against AIDS, there are things we can do NOW to prevent and treat the disease. The
first step is educating those who are most vulnerable. For those living with
AIDS, access to life saving medicines, like anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), is
vital. These drugs, which can be had for less than $1 a day, will improve the quality of life for those
infected with the virus and enable them to work and care for their families.
After 25 years, great strides have been made but there is
much more to be done. The U.S.
has helped save hundreds of thousands of lives around the world, and now more
than ever – as Congressional Appropriations committees meet and make important
decisions – we need to make sure we continue funding important efforts like the
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and the President’s Emergency Plan
for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). For a full review of the global AIDS epidemic, read
the most recent report from UNAIDS.
I am proud to be part of ONE, helping to advance the fight
against global AIDS and extreme poverty. The work we’re doing now is making a
difference; we are helping to make AIDS history. Just imagine what we can do in
the next 25 years…