WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- President Obama said Wednesday an AIDS-free generation is "within our reach" if research and development are prioritized.
"Each year on World AIDS Day, we come together as a global community to fight a devastating pandemic," Obama said in a proclamation regarding World AIDS Day Sunday. "We remember the friends and loved ones we have lost, stand with the estimated 35 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and renew our commitment to preventing the spread of this virus at home and abroad. If we channel our energy and compassion into science-based results, an AIDS-free generation is within our reach."
Obama said the country has made significant progress in strengthening scientific investments, expanding effective HIV/AIDS education and prevention, and connecting stakeholders in both the public and private sectors.
"At the same time, advances in our scientific understanding have allowed us to better fight this disease. We know now that by focusing on early detection and treatment, we can both prevent long-term complications and reduce transmission rates. ...
"My administration remains committed to reducing the stigma and disparities that fuel this epidemic. Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will require health insurance plans to cover HIV testing without any additional out-of-pocket costs. It will also prohibit discrimination based on HIV status and eliminate annual benefit caps. Under this law, we have already expanded Medicaid for working class Americans and banned lifetime limits on insurance coverage," the proclamation said.
Obama noted U.S. efforts to eradicate HIV extend far beyond the country's borders, calling it a "global fight" that America continues to lead.
"The United States has provided HIV prevention, treatment, and care to millions around the world, helping to dramatically reduce new infections and AIDS-related deaths. This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a powerful bipartisan effort to turn the tide on this epidemic. Through PEPFAR, we are making strong global progress and are on track to achieve the ambitious HIV treatment and prevention targets I set on World AIDS Day in 2011. ...
"We will win this battle, but it is not over yet. In memory of the loved ones we have lost and on behalf of our family members, friends, and fellow citizens of the world battling HIV/AIDS, we resolve to carry on the fight and end stigma and discrimination toward people living with this disease. At this pivotal moment, let us work together to bring this pandemic to an end," Obama said.