President Barack Obama made a promise to fight AIDS by providing treatment to 6 million people worldwide, up from an earlier goal of 4 million.
At a World AIDS Day event, Obama announced he would set a goal of providing anti-retroviral drugs to 6 million people including 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women throughout the world over the next two years. He said the administration would also increase spending on HIV and AIDS treatment within the United States by $50 million. Funding would come from an existing fund that would not require congressional approval.
“We can beat this disease. We can win this fight. We just have to keep at it, today, tomorrow, and every day until we get to zero,” Obama said at a forum in Washington, DC.
There are about 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the world – about 1.2 million living in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about only 28 percent of Americans living with HIV have their infection under control.
The agency attributes the lack of disease management to the fact that one in five U.S. adults infected with HIV does not know they are infected with the disease. Of those who do know they are infected, only half receive ongoing medical care and treatment, the CDC reports in a recent study.