Congresswoman Maxine Waters (Courtesy Photo)
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), a congressional leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS, issued the following statement in recognition of the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013:
"World AIDS Day is a time to reflect on the progress we’ve made in our fight against HIV/AIDS, show support for people living with the disease, honor those who have died, and recommit ourselves to ending this epidemic once and for all. It’s been over 32 years since AIDS was first discovered, yet the AIDS virus continues to infect and kill thousands of Americans and millions of people around the world.
"According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 1.8 million people in the U.S. have been infected with HIV, including more than 650,000 people who have already died and more than 1.1 million people who are living with HIV/AIDS today.
"In the U.S. Congress, I have fought to make sure the Affordable Care Act enables health coverage for routine HIV testing for all Americans and comprehensive treatment for those who are infected. Now, for the first time, all Americans who are living with HIV/AIDS can purchase affordable health plans without being rejected because of a pre-existing condition.
"I have also been a leading proponent of legislation to increase research and funding to combat HIV/AIDS and to help those affected by the disease throughout our society. Earlier this year, I reintroduced the Stop AIDS in Prison Act to require the federal Bureau of Prisons to develop a comprehensive policy to provide HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment for inmates in federal prisons. In addition, I circulated a request letter in support of additional funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative, which I developed in 1998, to provide grants for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs that serve minority communities.
"Since the epidemic began, we continue to be encouraged by new research advances that will someday lead to a cure, but we are nowhere near the finish line we seek in taking control over this terrible illness. Today, in the U.S., we must continue to do our part to battle this disease by promoting routine HIV testing and prevention and by making treatment for the infected more accessible and more affordable. Let's rededicate ourselves to caring for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and recommit our efforts to finding a cure."