On World AIDS Day, groups cheer progress and call for more focus

Today is World AIDS Day, drawing attention to those who have died from the disease, showing support for those living with HIV and making people more conscious of AIDS globally.

A number of organizations are acknowledging the day in various ways, some with proclamations about funding and AIDS awareness. Here are some of the more notable happenings:

The National Minority AIDS Council issued a statement renewing its commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic and praised President Obama for allocating millions in funding to AIDS assistance programs. “Today, Republicans and Democrats alike recognize the importance of addressing this public health crisis, placing humanity above politics,” said NMAC deputy executive director Daniel C. Montoya in a news release. “And while together we have accomplished much, there remains significant work to be done.”


Catholics for Choice cheered progress in the fight against AIDS, but also took the Catholic Church to task for its position on condom use. “Three decades into the fight against the AIDS epidemic, we still can’t count on the hierarchy using its influence to join wholeheartedly in the campaign to prevent the spread of HIV,” President Jon O'Brien said in a news release. “By creating unnecessary confusion around the use of condoms, the bishops continually take the focus away from this global health crisis while keeping this essential prevention tool out of the hands of those vulnerable to HIV infection.”

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called for Congress and the Obama administration to support HIV screening and AIDS prevention efforts and urged them to pass the Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal HIV Discrimination Act. “The lives of all those affected matter, including the hardest hit among us: our gay and bisexual brothers, our transgender sisters, our young people, and communities of color, particularly black men and women,” Rea Carey, the group’s executive director, in a said in a news release. “We do it because we still have no cure, and our nation still awaits more resources and less ignorance. We do it because today is not just a day to commemorate; it is a call to action.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commended the Obama administration for setting new goals for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which includes expanding the program and increasing antiretroviral treatment.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has posted fact sheets on the global AIDS/HIV epidemic as well as information on federal funding for HIV and AIDS and the Ryan White Program.