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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 19, 2007

Mrs. Bush's Remarks in a Roundtable Discussion at Howard University's Center for Infectious Disease Management and Research
Howard University Hospital
Washington, D.C.

photos  Photos

9:20 A.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Well, I got to meet Dr. Maxwell when she was at the White House on World AIDS Day, where we talked about different programs that were going on in the United States and programs that were going on globally that address AIDS, programs that are funded in large part -- the Global Fund -- part by the American taxpayer.

Mrs. Laura Bush participates in a roundtable at the Howard University Center for Infectious Disease Management and Research Tuesday, June 19, 2007, in Washington, D.C. Pictured with Mrs. Bush is, from left, Dr. Celia Maxwell, Director of the Women’s Health Initiative, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Dr. Tony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Maxwell invited experts to discuss HIV/AIDS and voluntary HIV testing. Howard University hospital, which is the first facility to implement throughout its entire institution voluntary HIV testing as part of routine medical care.  White House photo by Shealah Craighead But I was so fascinated to hear what Dr. Maxwell had to say about this hospital, Howard University Hospital, being really the first site to do what the CDC is proposing, and that is to offer testing for AIDS to every single person that comes in, for whatever reason they're here, whether they're coming in for cosmetic surgery or they're coming to the emergency room with some sort of emergency accident or wound.

And the whole point of it, and the point that I hope I'll be able to draw attention to is how important it is for everyone to have an AIDS test be just part of their regular medical tests. If you know that you're HIV positive, you can change your behavior so you don't infect your loved ones. If you know you're HIV positive, you can seek treatment. We know now, we see it -- I see it around the world, actually, as I travel, that people can live positively with AIDS for a long time, live a healthy life, that AIDS is not the death sentence that we once thought it was. And so to avoid testing is really making a big mistake for people.

So I want to thank you very much, Dr. Maxwell, for all the things that you've started here that are so great and that are a really wonderful model for the rest of the country. And I hope this is something, with the reauthorization of Ryan White, that will start in many other hospitals nationwide, because it's just very, very important for us to know in the United States, for each of us as individuals, to know our HIV status.

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