To mark the 23rd annual World AIDS Day on Thursday (Dec. 1), President Barack Obama announced plans to deepen U.S. efforts to fight the disease. In a speech Obama says that the global community must “renew our commitment to ending the AIDS pandemic – once and for all.”
In a World AIDS Day event at George Washington University, President Obama adds, “Make no mistake, we are going to win this fight.” He also announced $50 million more to fight HIV and AIDS while looking to help six million people get treatment by Dec. 2013. The target had been four million.
Since AIDS first emerged in the early 1980s, the disease has claimed more than 30 million lives. Obama noted that while the rate of new infections is declining in other parts of the world, it is not in the U.S. where 1.2 million people are living with the disease.
“The infection rate here has been holding steady for over a decade,” he says. “There are communities in this country being devastated still by this disease. When new infections among young, black, gay men increase by nearly fifty percent in three years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter.”
World AIDS Day was first thought of in 1987 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter of the World Health Organization.