Hastings’ Statement on World AIDS Day
Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) made the following statement in commemoration of World AIDS Day and AIDS Awareness Month:
“Every first of December for the past 28 years, we have commemorated World AIDS Day to increase awareness, improve education, combat prejudice, remember those who are no longer with us, and celebrate how far we have come in the struggle against HIV/AIDS. Thanks to the dedication of countless scientists, health care providers, government officials, organizations, and activists, more and more people can live with HIV/AIDS rather than die from it.
“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 35 million people have died since the first cases were reported in 1981 and 1.1 million people died of AIDS-related causes in 2015.
“HIV/AIDS is an international issue, however it has taken a particularly devastating toll on my district. Florida continues to rank among the top-three states in the nation in reported HIV/AIDS cases, with nearly 24 diagnosed cases per 100,000 people according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Broward County has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS in Florida.
“There is hope. New HIV diagnoses continue to decline, and research continues to improve the outlook of those suffering from this terrible disease. These successes are encouraging, and if we continue to fight, I am confident we will reach our goal of ridding the world of the HIV/AIDS by 2030.
“On this World AIDS Day, my thoughts and prayers are with those across this nation and around the world who live with HIV/AIDS and their families. As we approach the beginning of the 115th Congress, I stand committed to working with my colleagues to continue protecting the rights of HIV/AIDS patients and increasing access to testing and treatment. Today, let us recommit ourselves to the fight to rid the world of this disease once and for all.”
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.