December 04, 2014


LAWT News Service 


Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), a Congressional leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS, issued the following statement in recognition of World AIDS Day:


“World AIDS Day is a time to reflect on the progress we’ve made in our fight against HIV/AIDS, show support for people living with the disease, honor those who have died, and recommit ourselves to ending this epidemic once and for all. It’s been over 33 years since AIDS was first discovered, yet the AIDS virus continues to infect and kill thousands of Americans and millions of people around the world.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 50,000 new HIV infections every year in the United States.  Furthermore, of the 1.2 million Americans who are living with HIV/AIDS, only 3 out of 10 have the virus under control.  Meanwhile, UNAIDS reports that 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, and 1.5 million people died of AIDS in 2013.


In the U.S. Congress, I have fought to make sure the Affordable Care Act enables health coverage for routine HIV testing for all Americans and comprehensive treatment for those who are infected.  Now, for the first time, all Americans who are living with HIV/AIDS can purchase affordable health plans without being rejected because of a pre-existing condition.


I have also been a leading proponent of legislation to increase research and funding to combat HIV/AIDS and to help those affected by the disease throughout our society. Earlier this year, I circulated a letter in support of additional funding in fiscal year 2015 for the Minority AIDS Initiative, which I developed in 1998 to expand HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs in minority communities, and the letter was signed by 60 Members of Congress. Last year, I reintroduced the Stop AIDS in Prison Act, which requires the federal Bureau of Prisons to develop a comprehensive plan to provide HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment for inmates in federal prisons.  Finally, I introduced a resolution encouraging primary care physicians to become actively involved in HIV/AIDS awareness, testing, treatment, and referral services.


Clearly, there is much more work to be done. We must do everything we can to promote widespread HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, and testing and make treatment more accessible and affordable, both domestically and internationally. Let us rededicate ourselves to stopping the spread of this devastating disease, caring for those who are infected, and finding a cure.”

Category: Health