Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) sent a letter to President Obama Thursday pleading for his leadership in launching a renewed global effort to end the AIDS pandemic on World AIDS Day, December 1. A long-time advocate of global and domestic AID programs, Lee is co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus.
The letter asked the president to consider three main initiatives:
- To announce a new goal of treating 6 million people with HIV by 2013 through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
- To expand HIV prevention, care and treatment activities in U.S. jurisdictions with rising HIV incidence and growing wait lists for access to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), in advance of the Affordable Care Act provisions starting in 2014.
- To order a review of federal and state laws, policies, regulations and judicial proceedings involving criminal cases against people living with HIV/AIDS.
Citing the recent results of the HPTN 052 trial – which demonstrated earlier antiretroviral treatment of people with HIV provided 96 percent more protection from transmitting the virus to their uninfected sexual partners as compared to those who delayed treatment – Lee asks the president to protect his budget requests for the PEPFAR program, the multi-year pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the domestic programs that support people living with HIV in the United States such as Medicare, Medicaid and ADAP.
“Mr. President, with the return of the International AIDS Conference to the United States in July 2012, you have an opportunity to transform the international response to this devastating epidemic, and making the end of AIDS the legacy of our generation,” Lee writes.
“I stand ready to support you in these efforts.”