17 July 2012

US Congresswomen Introduces AIDS Resolution

This originally appeard on the PSI Healthy Lives Blog.


This week, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09) introduced a House resolution, co-sponsored by  Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus co-chairs Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), that acts to support global coordination to end AIDS.

H.Con.Res. 131 "recognizes the XIX International AIDS Conference as a unique opportunity to change the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic by capitalizing on scientific advances in treatment and prevention, building consensus to maximizing results, facilitating public-private partnerships, and accelerating momentum towards a cure."  Next week, global leaders, scientists, activists and people living with HIV/AIDS will gather in Washington DC for the XIX International AIDS Conference (IAC). An important conference that makes its return to the United States for the first time in 22 years.

“AIDS is still the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime,” said Congresswoman Lee. “As we work to turn the tide together, America’s need for a greater AIDS response underscores that AIDS 2012 is an important and long overdue opportunity for our domestic epidemic to become part of a global effort.”

The resolution reads as follows:
Expressing support for continued international cooperation to combat HIV/AIDS.

Whereas an estimated 34,000,000 people around the world were living with HIV at the end of 2010, up from 8,000,000 in 1990;

Whereas since the beginning of the epidemic, nearly 30,000,000 people have died from AIDS-related causes;

Whereas the annual number of new HIV infections has steadily declined, and due to the significant increase in people receiving antiretroviral therapy, the number of AIDS-related deaths has also declined;

Whereas developing countries continue to bear the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 68 percent of all adults and children living with HIV/AIDS;

Whereas 1 in 5 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the United States is unaware of being infected, and significant disparities persist across different communities and populations with regard to incidence of infection, access to treatment, and health outcomes;

Whereas the engagement of civil society is critically important to the fight against HIV/AIDS;

Whereas the courageous efforts of individuals and communities affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States and worldwide have revolutionized the global response to HIV/AIDS and led to the enactment of bipartisan legislation to address the crisis;

Whereas the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which represents the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease, has saved the lives of millions of people around the world by establishing and expanding the infrastructure necessary to deliver prevention, care, and treatment services in low-resource settings;

Whereas the United States has articulated a vision of ushering in an AIDS-Free Generation; and

Whereas the XIX International AIDS Conference offers a unique opportunity to change the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic by capitalizing on scientific advances in treatment and prevention, building consensus to maximizing results, facilitating public-private partnerships, and accelerating momentum towards a cure: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--

(1) supports efforts to raise awareness about the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis;

(2) recognizes the importance of country ownership of the HIV/AIDS response, including participation by civil society;

(3) expresses its support for the achievements of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in cooperation with international efforts to combat HIV/AIDS;

(4) endorses the call for virtual global elimination of new pediatric HIV infections by 2015;

(5) urges continued United States leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS; and

(6) calls upon all nations to--

(A) develop and implement effective AIDS strategies that are tailored to local conditions and include specific, measurable targets and evaluation plans;

(B) provide adequate resources that are targeted appropriately to address the epidemic;

(C) promote accountability among all stakeholders engaged at various levels of the response to HIV and AIDS; and

(D) respect the human rights and dignity of persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee will speak at the opening plenary session of the IAC on July 22, 2012. Based on previous concurrent resolutions and the make-up of the sponsors, Govtrack.us predicts that the "resolution has a 9% chance of being agreed to."

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