Congresswoman Barbara Lee Marks the 30th World AIDS Day

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee, co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, released the following statement celebrating the reauthorization of PEPFAR and marking December 1st as World AIDS Day.

“This year, as we mark the 30th World AIDS Day, I am reflecting on the progress we’ve made and recommitting to the work that remains. Because of programs like PEPFAR, the Global Fund, and the Ryan White Program, we have saved over 17 million lives from AIDS. We’ve helped millions of children be born HIV-free. And we’ve supported tens of millions more across the world with access to education, care and lifesaving treatment.

“This year is also the 15th Anniversary of PEPFAR. Before PEPFAR was established, only 50,000 people were on treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. 15 years later, we have more than 14.6 million people worldwide on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment because of PEPFAR programs. As the original author of PEPFAR and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, I am proud of what we have accomplished. The recent passage of bipartisan PEPFAR Reauthorization legislation, which I coauthored, is a testament to the bipartisan support that exists for these programs.

“While I am grateful that the President is expected to sign this PEPFAR reauthorization into law, we cannot overlook the Trump Administration’s efforts to undermine our domestic and global health programs. I am particularly alarmed by his extreme, unprecedented Global Gag Rule, which is undercutting our fight against HIV and AIDS abroad. We cannot afford to backslide in our commitments to ending this epidemic.

“As we mark this World AIDS Day, I hope our Congress can come together to protect lifesaving public health programs. We must keep pushing forward together to realize our shared goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation.

“In my home district, we are also looking ahead to the AIDS 2020 Conference, which will be jointly hosted in Oakland and San Francisco and will shine a light on the realities of the epidemic here at home. As we celebrate the progress we’ve made thus far, I look forward to continuing the fight against HIV and AIDS both at home and around the world.”