Each year as we observe World AIDS Day we must take a measure of our progress in stopping the spread of HIV and AIDS in our local communities and in the World. We must observe whether our resolve matches the challenge which AIDS presents.
This year the focus is appropriately placed on the young, and the theme Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign with Young People is a call to action. With at least ten million young people aged 10 - 24 already HIV-infected, and 2.6 million new infections per year among young people, we must act more aggressively to address the needs of youth in this epidemic. Young people around the world have shown courage and creativity in the face of this epidemic. They can and must be a force for change in the age of AIDS.
The fight against AIDS must be a priority on the agenda of the G7. The world economic powers cannot truly address the economic challenges of the developing world while ignoring the impact of AIDS. Across Africa and Asia, AIDS is devastating entire communities and undermining long term investments in human and economic development. If HIV infections were miraculously stopped today, without a cure we would still be caring for people with HIV/AIDS decades into the future. We cannot let another generation be devastated by a disease that we know how to prevent, and are learning how to treat. Interventions in places as different as Uganda and Thailand have scored dramatic successes in curtailing the spread of AIDS. We must not hesitate to implement effective programs. We must be willing to act.
San Francisco early on experienced the ravages of AIDS, and early on mobilized to respond at home and far beyond our own borders. We have been a wellspring of activism, research, and public awareness on the international level -- a true force for change from the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. I am pleased to take this global perspective to Congress. As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, I have fought for increases in funding for international AIDS prevention and treatment, and this year won a $4 million increase, to $125 million, to combat AIDS internationally, and an additional $10 million in emergency funds to address the needs of children affected by AIDS overseas. Of course we must do more.
On this World AIDS Day, I salute San Francisco for leading the way internationally and at home in the mobilization against HIV/AIDS. As we appreciate the advances in AIDS treatment and prevention, we must recognize that in our country, and internationally, the fight against AIDS is far from over.
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