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"World AIDS Day is both a day of sadness and a day of hope. We remember with sadness all those lost to AIDS. We mourn their lives cut short, their dreams of future denied. And we ask for God's blessing on the loved ones they have left behind. We also mark this day with hope -- for the improving prospects of those living with the virus, for the unprecedented number of infections being prevented, and for new progress toward eradicating this disease. Above all, we rededicate ourselves to a great purpose: We will turn the tide against HIV/AIDS -- once and for all."
On November 30, 2007, President and Mrs. Bush marked World AIDS Day 2007 by participating in a faith-based roundtable discussion at Calvary United Methodist Church in Mount Airy, Maryland. This World AIDS Day, the U.S. Government is highlighting the important role of faith- and community-based organizations in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. The President and Mrs. Bush will discuss the global response to HIV/AIDS with U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul, members of local churches involved with volunteer efforts in AIDS-afflicted countries, and faith-based organizations partnering with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Starting today, the White House will display the red ribbon for two days on the North Portico to represent the continued battle against HIV/AIDS and to affirm the matchless value of every life.
Today, the President will meet Martha Chilufya who established the Mututa Memorial Center in Zambia. This center partners with Emergency Plan and faith-based caregivers to serve more than 150 patients. Mrs. Bush and Jenna Bush visited the center in June to listen to a choir of orphans who receive care at the center.
America Continues To Lead The World In Fighting HIV/AIDS
The United States is on track to exceed the President's commitment of $15 billion over five years for PEPFAR to support treatment for two million people, prevention of seven million new infections, and care for 10 million people. PEPFAR is the largest international health initiative ever dedicated to a single disease.
On World AIDS Day 2007, President Bush again calls on Congress to reauthorize PEPFAR to continue to support those served by the program, and to further expand efforts to build on the program's success. With full implementation of the "Partnership Compact" model proposed by the President, maintenance of the successful grassroots collaborations with faith-based groups, and a continued emphasis on preventing infection through behavioral changes, live saving progress will continue. If Congress appropriates the funds, the next phase of the American peoples commitment to those suffering from HIV/AIDS will support:
PEPFAR is supporting the leadership of local communities. PEPFAR works with partners in host nations to support local capacity and to sustain prevention, treatment, and care efforts long after the initial five years of the Emergency Plan. Over 80 percent of PEPFAR partners are indigenous organizations, including faith-and community-based organizations.
PEPFAR draws upon the capabilities of faith-and community-based organizations to contribute to an effective, multi-sectoral response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. These organizations are uniquely positioned to promote HIV/AIDS stigma reduction and prevention messages, as well as to provide counseling and testing, home care, clinical services, and antiretroviral treatment. These attributes make their partnership a valuable asset in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The United States supports one of the most diverse prevention portfolios of any international partner. In addition to the balanced, evidenced-based ABC (Abstain, Be faithful, and the correct and consistent use of Condoms) approach, the U.S. supports programs that address mother-to-child transmission, blood safety and safe medical injections, male circumcision, injecting drug users, HIV-discordant couples, alcohol abuse, and other key issues, including gender-specific programs.
The United States leads the world in its support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. President Bush made the Fund's founding contribution, and the United States has pledged approximately $3 billion and contributed approximately $2.5 billion to date far more than any other nation.
As a result of the Presidents leadership, G-8 leaders in June demonstrated their commitment to work with Africa and set a goal of supporting treatment for five million HIV/AIDS-infected individuals, preventing 24 million new infections, and caring for 24 million people, including 10 million orphans and vulnerable children.
The Administration Is Working To End Discrimination Against People Living With HIV/AIDS
This winter, the Department of Homeland Security will publish a final rule establishing a categorical waiver for HIV-positive people seeking to enter the United States on short-term visas. Because the President considers the participation of people living with HIV/AIDS a critical element in the global HIV/AIDS response, he directed the Secretary of State to request and the Secretary of Homeland Security to initiate a rulemaking to propose this waiver on World AIDS Day 2006. A 1993 law prohibits HIV-positive people from receiving visas to visit the United States without a waiver. A categorical waiver will enable HIV-positive people to enter the United States for short visits through a streamlined process.
The Administration Is Dedicated To Helping The More Than One Million Americans Living With HIV/AIDS Here At Home
The Administration is working to compassionately address the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS and to prevent new HIV infections within the United States. Each year, about half of new transmissions are spread by individuals unaware they are infecting others. The number of AIDS cases is especially high in the African-American, Hispanic, and gay communities, as well as among injecting drug users and prisoners.
The Administration is successfully implementing the Ryan White Care Act, which helps ensure that AIDS patients can receive treatment, including lifesaving drugs. After reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act last year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is already seeing a better focus of Federal resources on life-extending care and improved targeting of resources to address the greatest needs.
The President continues to support HIV tests becoming a routine part of care so all Americans know their status. The HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released guidelines to physicians recommending routine voluntary HIV testing as a part of regular medical care for all people between the ages of 13-64, and annual screening for those at high risk. HHS continues to do extensive outreach to help states put these guidelines into practice.
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