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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES; GLOBAL: Obama on AIDS: 'We Can Beat This Disease'
Julie Pace
December 2, 2011
Associated Press (12.01.11) - Friday, December 02, 2011

President Barack Obama announced two initiatives on World AIDS Day, recommitting the United States to fighting HIV/AIDS both abroad and domestically. "We can beat this disease," Obama said at an event in Washington, with former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton participating via satellite.

Building on the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Obama pledged to help 6 million people in hard-hit countries access antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2013, an increase of 2 million. New, expanded overseas targets also include providing ARVs to 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child infection; distributing more than 1 billion condoms in the next two years; and funding 4.7 million voluntary medical male circumcisions in eastern and southern Africa within two years.

Launched by Bush with a $15 billion budget in 2003, PEPFAR in 2008 was given a $48 billion, five-year budget by Congress. No increase in funding is expected; instead, the expanded targets will be paid for through increased PEPFAR efficiencies and cuts in treatment costs, officials said.

In addition, Obama announced plans to boost domestic spending on HIV treatment. Officials said he would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to increase funding for treatment by $50 million, using funds that are already part of the HHS budget and do not require Congressional approval. The bulk, $35 million, will go to state programs helping patients access ARVs. Currently, more than 6,500 Americans with HIV are on waiting lists for treatment, the White House said.

The remainder will fund HIV medical clinics across the country, especially where infections have increased and care is not readily available. The clinic funding will give 7,500 more patients access to treatment, officials said.