Washington, D.C. - Speaker Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon in recognition of World AIDS Day. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
“I rise today to recognize the 21st annual World AIDS Day - and to remember, reflect on those we have lost, and recommit to ending HIV/AIDS.
“This year's theme - ‘Universal Access and Human Rights' - is a call to action, a sign of the continued urgency of this moral challenge, and a reminder that HIV/AIDS is still with us in a very major way. The fight to end this disease must go on.
“The moral case alone is reason to act, but we also know that the spread of infectious diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, can destroy the very fabric of nations and create a ‘fury of despair'. American leadership is essential to preventing suffering and instability in the developing world.
“Since the first World AIDS Day in 1988, we have made enormous progress. We have dramatically increased resources for both domestic and international HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment, and research. These investments have provided life-saving and anti-retroviral treatment to millions of people while also taking critical steps to prevent millions of new HIV cases.
“Reiterating our commitment, Congress recently passed in a bipartisan way, and President Obama signed into law the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act, continuing this essential lifeline of care, treatment, and support for more than half a million low-income Americans living with this disease. And around the same time, the President lifted the ban on entry of individuals with HIV/AIDS into our country. This was good news for all who were concerned about the global AIDS conference that is going to be held in the United States in 2012.
“And when Congress and the President make the dream of health insurance reform a reality for all Americans, we will improve access to lifesaving medications and open the door of high-quality medical care to more low-income, uninsured HIV-positive individuals before they confront the nightmare of full-blown AIDS. It is better for their health and lower costs for all of us.
“Today, on World AIDS Day, we remember all that we have lost, but also all that we have held onto - our hope, our optimism, our steadfastness and our determination to fight against this disease, to respond to the needs of the people who have it, and one day -- and hopefully that will be soon -- to end the HIV/AIDS disease.”