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Congresswoman Barbara Lee Attends Final Meeting of Global Commission on HIV and the Law

December 12, 2011 - Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) participated in the final meeting of Global Commission on HIV and the Law in Geneva, Switzerland, with the world's policy, human rights, and HIV leaders to discuss the health and human rights of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.

"The effectiveness of the global HIV response will depend not just on the scale up of HIV prevention, treatment and care, but on whether the legal and social environment support or hinder programs for those who are most vulnerable," said Congresswoman Lee. "This global drive is a significant step in removing the laws that fuel stigma and breed fear, discrimination, and distrust, and I look forward to carry forward the Commission's recommendations for the Unites States and the world."

Congresswoman Lee is the only U.S. representative to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. From February 2011 to September 2011, the Global Commission held seven regional dialogues - in Asia and the Pacific, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, Arab States, Africa, and High Income Countries (in Oakland, California). Through these regional dialogues, the Commission gathered and generated compelling evidence illustrating how repressive laws, policies and practices, that do not respect human rights, hamper effective HIV responses and how enabling legal environments that promote and protect the human rights can achieve tremendous progress. The Global Commission is expected to release a final report, to the United Nations General Assembly in the first quarter of 2012. Additionally, the Global Commission is expected to participate at the International AIDS conference in DC, July 2012.

As part of her work on the Commission, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced H.R. 3053 to require the Attorney General, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Defense to review federal and state laws, policies, regulations, and judicial proceedings that involve criminal cases against people living with HIV/AIDS, and to provide support for education and reform initiatives.


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 - scheduled for July 2012 in Washington DC - to be held in the U.S. after 20 years.


Kristal DeKleer (202) 225-1882

Source: Congresswoman Barbara Lee

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