Today is World AIDS Day and marks 30 years since the first cases of HIV/AIDS were reported. In 2001, there were 3.1 million new HIV infections reported. In 2010, that number was down to 2.7 million. In the United States, there are approximately 1.2 million Americans currently living with the infection. Worldwide, that estimate jumps to an astounding 34 million.
In a White House Press Release issued today, U.S. President Barack Obama urged the American people to “remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and comfort to those living with this disease.” He added “We stand with the individuals and communities affected by HIV and recommit to progress toward an AIDS free generation.” With an increase in funding in education, research and treatment, the President is hopeful that we will wipe out this pandemic disease.
President Obama, along with former Presidents George W. Bush (via remote satellite) and Bill Clinton, as well as numerous celebrities, spoke today at an event sponsored by the ONE campaign held at George Washington University in Washington D.C. ONE is an international organization co-founded by Bono (of U2 fame), dedicated to fighting poverty and preventable diseases.
The ONE.org website states: “A number of recent game-changing studies have offered exciting new tools in the fight to prevent HIV. Now more than ever, we must recommit ourselves to the fight against HIV and to achieving specific, measurable goals that will help us bend the curve of this pandemic by 2015: end mother-to-child transmission of HIV, provide treatment to the 15 million people who need it, and drastically reduce new infections. Though these goals are ambitious, they are all measurable and achievable. But it’s only when we have the broad support of donors, African governments, organizations, and the private sector that the beginning of the end of AIDS will be real.”