Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Congresswoman Jackie Speier calls for more AIDS funding

On the eve of the annual World AIDS Day observances December 1, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) is calling for increased funding for HIV prevention and treatment services around the globe.

She also warned against complacency toward fighting the AIDS epidemic, now entering its fourth decade, amid reports that the number of people dying from AIDS globally has declined for the third consecutive year.

“There is much to be concerned about,” stated Speier (seen at right)  in a statement released by her office today, Wednesday, November 30.

Estimates are that donor assistance declined from $8.7 billion in 2009 to $7.6 billion last year, noted Speier, amid a worldwide economic malaise. And while 6.6 million people are under treatment, the lawmaker decried that “worse yet,” there are 7.6 million people who need AIDS drugs but are not being treated.

“The global economic downturn is reducing monies devoted to AIDS research and treatment,” warned Speier.

In the United States the AIDS epidemic has stabilized yet more than 56,000 people are newly infected with HIV each year. In California alone, more than 160,000 residents currently live with HIV or AIDS and another 7,000 are infected each year.

Speier touted the fact that Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a four-year reauthorization of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, though advocates argue it remains grossly under-funded. She also hailed the establishment of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which set a target of reducing HIV transmission by 30 percent by 2015.

But she also bemoaned the fact that efforts to eradicate AIDS in other countries have been “far less successful, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.” An estimated 22.9 million people living with HIV call the region home, and 1.9 million more people there contracted HIV just last year.

“The bottom line is that we still haven’t found a cure for AIDS and until that day comes, we must continue to raise awareness that the fight to stop AIDS requires prevention, research and treatment,” stated Speier. “These actions, in turn, deserve appropriate levels of funding from not only our government, but from the world at large. AIDS should be everyone’s concern.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, November 30, 2011 @ 4:27 pm PST
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