Submitted by Erin Moffet
Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement to welcome the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) to Washington, DC. AIDS 2012 now through July 27, 2012, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Organized by the International AIDS Society (IAS), AIDS 2012 is expected to convene more than 30,000 people from approximately 200 countries. Over the course of the Conference, the world’s leading scientists, public health experts, policymakers, community leaders, and persons living with HIV/AIDS will chart the way forward in the global response to HIV/AIDS.
“It is my great honor and privilege to welcome the XIX International AIDS Conference back to Washington, D.C. The III International AIDS Conference was held in our nation’s capital in 1987, the same year that the United States established a policy barring HIV-positive foreigners from obtaining permanent immigration status or entering the United States without special waivers. As a result, no major scientific conferences on HIV/AIDS have been held in this country since – until now
“Thanks to years of advocacy by countless individuals and the leadership of former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, the misguided travel and immigration ban against people with HIV was lifted in 2010. This was a critical step forward in addressing societal stigma and discriminatory practices against people living with HIV/AIDS.
Hastings applauds new AIDS funding
Washington, D.C. — Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement in response to the recent funding announcement by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius of more than $10 million for Ryan White community-based health clinics and $69 million for the state AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP):
“For far too long, thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS all across the nation have been languishing on waiting lists for lifesaving antiretroviral treatment, with hundreds more having lost their eligibility due to cost-containment measures in certain states. That is why I applaud the announcement by the Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services making available nearly $80 million in much-needed emergency funding for the Ryan White Program and ADAP. These new grant awards will expand treatment and care to 14,000 new patients, eliminate ADAP waiting lists in 25 states and territories, including Florida, and help states and communities achieve the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategies. Furthermore, an additional $6 million in supplemental funding will be made available later this year for states that demonstrate ongoing need. “I commend President Obama for his continued leadership and commitment to increasing access to HIV care and reducing HIV-related health disparities. It is also important to remember that this is yet another example of comprehensive health care reform in action, as the expansion of HIV care and treatment to new patients is made possible, in part, by the Affordable Care Act. We have the knowledge and tools necessary to change the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, of which treatment is a vital part. Now more than ever, let us work together to ensure access to lifesaving drugs for all people living with HIV/AIDS and bring an end to the ADAP waiting lists 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 Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.