President Obama has pledged to “carry on the fight” against HIV/AIDS in a presidential proclamation designating Dec. 1 as World AIDS Day.
Enumerating efforts his administration has taken against the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and continuation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, Obama said more work is necessary in his proclamation Wednesday.
“We will win this battle, but it is not over yet,” Obama said. “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.”
Amid criticism of the Affordable Care Act over malfunctions of the healthcare.gov website and forced cancellations of insurance plans, Obama details in his proclamation how health care reform benefits people with HIV/AIDS.
“Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will require health insurance plans to cover HIV testing without any additional out-of-pocket costs,” Obama said. “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.”
Obama also notes that last month he signed the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, which lifts the 1988 ban prohibiting people with HIV from donating organs to others with the disease.
Secretary of State John Kerry also issued a statement observing World AIDS Day, reflecting on the progress against the global epidemic as a result of PEPFAR.
On the 10th anniversary of the program in June, Kerry said, he announced the one-millionth baby with a HIV-positive mother born HIV-free due to mother-to-child transmission prevention programs supported by PEPFAR.
“Achieving an AIDS-free generation is a shared responsibility,” Kerry said. “Partnerships with host government, civil society, the faith community, the private sector, and multilateral organizations are vital to a robust and sustained global AIDS response.”