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Congresswoman Barbara Lee Calls for the End of AIDS

After International AIDS Conference, Congresswoman Encourages Continued Bipartisan Support

August 1, 2012 - Washington, D.C. - Following the completion of the 19th International AIDS Conference, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09) thanked the International AIDS Society for choosing Washington, D.C. as the host city. Known as AIDS 2012, the International AIDS Conference marked a dramatic return to U.S. soil of this major biannual global health gathering after a hiatus of 22 years. Congresswoman Lee was the original sponsor of legislation that cleared the way for the conference to be held in the United States by repealing the Immigration and Travel ban that barred the entry of HIV positive individuals.

"The return of the Conference was an important opportunity to shine a global spotlight on the fight against AIDS here in the United States and a national spotlight on the ongoing global epidemic," said Congresswoman Lee, Co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. "AIDS is still the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime. As we work to turn the tide together, America's need for a greater AIDS response underscores that AIDS 2012 was an important and long overdue opportunity for our domestic pandemic to become part of a global effort."

Congresswoman Lee addressed the Opening Session of AIDS 2012. She welcomed the delegates from the Bay Area, discussed the importance of bi-partisan cooperation on fighting AIDS, and called on Congress to commit to achieving an AIDS Free Generation.  Throughout the week, Congresswoman Lee participated in a number of events, including a bipartisan Congressional panel on the important role of the U.S. Congress' continued U.S. leadership to combat HIV/AIDS around the world where she highlighted the important role of the Congressional Black Caucus in the creation of PEPFAR. Watch her Opening Session speech here: Opening Session Speech . Watch the panel discussion here: Congressional Panel .

"While at the conference, I saw first-hand that our youth are a key element in our fight to turn the tide against AIDS," said Congresswoman Lee. "Recognizing the central role young people play in the fight is an important step in addressing the unequal burden young people carry in this epidemic. That is why I am calling for a National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day."

n advance of the conference, Congresswoman Lee introduced H.R. 6138, a bill that articulates a 5-year Global HIV/AIDS-Free Generation Strategy to expand and improve efforts to combat global HIV/AIDS, while promoting efficiency and maximizing results. The Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Act of 2012 increases and targets federal resources to maximize impact of HIV efforts, expands efforts to end stigma and discrimination, repeals and reforms laws that violate human rights and undermine the positive impact of resources, and maximizes federal coordinating efforts to drive greater efficiency and improved results in all HIV and related programs.  The bill also provides for the expansion of comprehensive sex education, the distribution of condoms to people in prison, and improved provisions for monitoring HIV care. Get more information on the legislation here: Press Release on H.R. 6138

"Secretary of State Clinton announced that the Administration will deliver a blueprint to achieve an AIDS Free Generation and intensify efforts to reach at-risk populations," said Congresswoman Lee. "I am hopeful that we can continue down a bipartisan path to secure the funding and support needed to make this a reality. If any issue is post-partisan, it is AIDS. Pathology knows no ideology."


Follow Barbara Lee on Twitter @RepBarbaraLee

"Read the 2002 letter to President Bush from the Congressional Black Caucus Letter supporting funding to end the AIDS epidemic around the work: Link to letter

"For more information, visit my webpage dedicated to the International AIDS Conference: Click here

Congresswoman Lee has been a leader in the fight against the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. She co-authored legislation signed into law creating the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in 2000, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003, the PEPFAR Reauthorization Act in 2008, and in 2005 legislation addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS. She has also been a leader in the effort to establish a National AIDS Strategy, and is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services & Education with jurisdiction over all domestic HIV/AIDS funding. She is the only United States representative on United Nations Development Programme's Global Commission on HIV and the Law and was the original sponsor of legislation that lead to the repeal of the Immigration and Travel ban that barred the entry of HIV positive individuals. The repeal allowed the International AIDS conference to be held in the U.S. after 20 years.


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