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Obama Announces New U.S. Commitments To End AIDS Domestically, Globally

Speaking at the ONE campaign and (RED)’s “Beginning of the End of AIDS” event at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., to mark World AIDS Day on Thursday, “President Obama … announced a deepened U.S. commitment to fighting the pandemic, declaring ‘make no mistake, we are going to win this fight,'” ABC News reports (Bruce, 12/1). Obama said his administration is “setting a goal of providing antiretroviral [ARV] drugs to more than 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women over the next two years” to help prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, and “setting a new target of helping six million people get [ARV] treatment by the end of 2013,” two million more people than the original goal, according to the speech transcript (12/1). A White House fact sheet adds PEPFAR will support more than 4.7 million voluntary medical male circumcisions in Eastern and Southern Africa and the U.S. will distribute more than one billion condoms worldwide over the next two years. The fact sheet notes PEPFAR’s “continued focus on lowering costs and finding efficiencies will allow us to achieve these ambitious targets with existing resources” (12/1).

Domestically, Obama said the administration will redirect $50 million to go toward HIV/AIDS programs, “committing an additional $15 million for the Ryan White Program that supports care provided by HIV medical clinics across the country” and “an additional $35 million for state AIDS-drug assistance programs,” according to the speech (12/1). “The funds would come from existing resources and would not require congressional approval, a White House official said,” according to Reuters (Bohan et al., 12/1).

Additional coverage of Obama’s speech was provided by the New York Times, the Seattle Times, the Washington Post, NPR’s health blog “Shots,” ScienceInsider, and National Journal.

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