Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) made the following statement in commemoration of World AIDS Day and AIDS Awareness Month:
“Since its establishment by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1988, World AIDS Day has served as a call to action and a living memorial to all those whose lives have been lost to the disease across the globe. According to WHO, an estimated 39 million people have died since the first cases were reported in 1981 and 1.5 million people died of AIDS-related causes in 2013.
“In the United States, more than 1.2 million people are currently living with HIV, with almost one in seven (14 percent) unaware of their infection. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that only 25 percent of Americans living with HIV are virally suppressed and successfully making it through the HIV care continuum. This means that about 825,000 people living with HIV are not receiving the full benefits of treatment, and may be unknowingly passing the virus on to others.
“Treatment remains the most promising tool we have to creating an AIDS-free generation. Because of continued advancements in antiretroviral drugs and efforts to link individuals to care, more people living with HIV are able to manage the disease and lead active, productive lives. If we can increase the number of individuals living with HIV who are on treatment, then we can achieve global AIDS control.
“Ultimately, however, the future is in our hands. We know how to stop the transmission of HIV and help people living with AIDS stay as healthy as possible. It starts with raising public awareness, knowing your status, and challenging the stigma that prevents so many within our communities from accessing the care they need.
“As we look to the start of the 114th Congress, it is imperative that we remain committed to continuing the fight against HIV/AIDS, and address the ongoing effects of sequestration on HIV care in the United States. I urge my colleagues to join me in recognizing World AIDS Day and AIDS Awareness Month, as well as supporting vital HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care programs, including the Ryan White Program and Affordable Care Act (ACA).”
Congressman Hastings is a staunch advocate for the HIV/AIDS community and a member of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. He continues to support robust funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program, Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, and National AIDS Strategy, as well as HIV/AIDS research.
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.