President Obama today marked World AIDS Day, speaking at an event called "The Beginning of the End of AIDS" where he outlined the progress that has been made in the global fight against the pandemic:
Because we invested in anti-retroviral treatment, people who would have died, some of whom are here today, are living full and vibrant lives. Because we developed new tools, more and more mothers are giving birth to children free from this disease. And because of a persistent focus on awareness, the global rate of new infections and deaths is declining. So make no mistake, we are going to win this fight.
AIDS has claimed 30 million lives over the past three decades, and while the rate of new infections is going down in many countries, the President acknowledged that it is not declining in America:
The infection rate here has been holding steady for over a decade. There are communities in this country being devastated, still, by this disease.
When new infections among young black gay men increase by nearly 50 percent in 3 years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter. When Latinos are dying sooner than other groups, and when black women feel forgotten, even though they account for most of the new cases among women, then we’ve got to do more.
So this fight is not over. Not for the 1.2 million Americans who are living with HIV right now. Not for the Americans who are infected every day. This fight is not over for them, it’s not over for their families, and as a consequence, it can’t be over for anybody in this room -- and it certainly isn’t over for your President.