World AIDS Day is an important opportunity to remember those lost to AIDS. Just as importantly, it is an opportunity to raise awareness of the global epidemic and efforts to halt the spread of this terrible disease.
HIV/AIDS continues to be a growing threat to world health. An estimated 39 million people are infected with HIV. About 3 million men and women died of AIDS in 2003 and there were close to 5 million new infections worldwide. In the
This Administration has made unprecedented commitments to the fight and we remain unwavering in our efforts to stop this epidemic here and across the globe. This year, President Bush has committed $2.4 billion to his Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which expects to support treatment for 2 million HIV-infected people and prevent 7 million new infections. The Emergency Plan provides services to over 100 countries around the world, including 15 focus nations in
This years commemoration has a special focus on the increasingly alarming impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. For the first time, women and girls compose almost half of the people with HIV. In sub-Saharan
In communities across this country, there are vibrant examples of HHS-supported programs targeted at women that are making a difference. The Childrens Hospital in
Over the past year, we have taken important steps to encourage HIV testing. Getting tested for HIV shows your loved ones you care about them and its an important personal contribution to the fight against this devastating disease. That is a theme we are aggressively promoting through new public service advertisements developed in partnership with the Ad Council. The two new television ads target African American men between the ages of 13 and 28 and communicates that knowing their HIV status is the first step in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS. I call on local television stations to help us combat the scourge of HIV by airing these advertisements and educating their communities.
These efforts and others are reaching across the globe to prevent the spread of HIV, find a vaccine, provide treatment to those affected, encourage HIV testing among at-risk individuals so they can know their status and seek assistance if necessary, and care for orphans and other left behind after AIDS has struck.