New Congressional Caucus Focused on Fighting HIV/AIDS
Katie Lapides Coester
September 22, 2011
Last week, 56 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congressmen Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) to launch the first ever bipartisan Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus
Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) speaks at the HIV/AIDS
The caucus aims to refocus Congressional attention on the domestic and global HIV/AIDS epidemics in advance of the much-anticipated AIDS 2012 conference
Caucus launch event at the U.S. Capitol Building on
September 15, 2011. (Photo: EGPAF)
. This large gathering of scientists, activists, and other leaders in the field will take place in Washington D.C. next July.
The global conference—which is held by the International AIDS Society (IAS) – is returning to the U.S. for the first time in more than 20 years, after the successful repeal of the travel ban that restricted HIV-positive individuals from entering the country.
At a press conference on Capitol Hill for the launch, Congresswoman Lee said: “Ending AIDS can and should be the legacy of our generation.”
There was also much discussion of a generation born free of HIV.
Both Congressmen McDermott and Franks discussed the importance of preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). McDermott declared that no mother should have to deliver a child without receiving the medicines that can prevent transmission of the virus.
Congressman Franks echoed that sentiment, declaring that our highest priority should be the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
The Foundation itself has been a leader in these efforts, reaching more than 12.2 million women with PMTCT services in the areas of the world hardest hit by the pandemic.
Following the Congressional co-sponsors, a number of other officials spoke about the importance of the caucus, and the strides we are making against this disease.
These included Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of UNIAIDS, Ambassador Eric Goosby, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Jeff Crowley, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy at the White House, and other leaders in the HIV/AIDS community.
The Foundation applauds the founding members of the caucus and their commitment to fighting HIV and AIDS – and particularly their recognition of the gathering momentum to finally end new cases of pediatric AIDS.
Katie Lapides Coester is a Public Policy Officer at the Foundation based in Washington, D.C.