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December 13, 2015

Obama pledges $100 million for an AIDS cure

Washington, D.C.--President Barack Obama, speaking in observation of World AIDS Day on December 2, announced an initiative that would see $100 million diverted to the National Institutes of Health to find a cure for HIV.

In addition, Obama announced that the country had surpassed the goal of getting six million people on treatment for HIV, beating it by 700,000 patients, and will set new targets next year.

The government will also match other nations’ donations to Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on a two-to-one basis. The maximum U.S. contribution will be $5 billion. According to Obama, the United Kingdom made a similar pledge.

Obama praised the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the program responsible for getting people in Africa into treatment. This is a George W. Bush program, which Obama described as “phenomenal.”

PEPFAR will move in the next few years to providing support for local efforts to combat HIV, instead of providing direct aid as it does now.

The $100 million will be repurposed from other funding, but the White House did not specify where the funding would come from.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius also spoke in honor of World AIDS Day, noting the strides made under Obama’s administration, including the Affordable Care Act, which bars people from being denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions, like HIV infection.

“There was a time, not too long ago, when getting an HIV diagnosis was like getting a death sentence,” she said. “Today, because of the hard work of so many . . . HIV is now a manageable medical condition.”

“There are currently more than 30 safe and effective antiretroviral drugs and drug combinations--and researchers continue to discover new treatments,” she continued. “What’s more, we’re making significant progress toward new medications and regimens that are longer-lasting and simpler to use--with fewer side effects.”

“With your help, we have been making a tremendous amount of progress. But for all we have to be thankful for, there is still much more work to be done, especially when it comes to addressing the discrimination and stigma that continue to fuel the spread of infection--both at home and around the world,” she concluded.

 

 

 

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