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AIDS Action Council Statement on World AIDS Day 2007: Leadership Needed for a National Strategy to Stop the AIDS Epidemic

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AIDS Action Council joins organizations and individuals across the country and around the world in observing the 20th annual World AIDS Day, December 1, 2007. Since 1988, World AIDS Day has provided countless opportunities to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to reinvigorate global, national, regional and local efforts to stop AIDS.

The 2007 and 2008 theme of World AIDS Day is leadership. Nearly 27 years since it was first identified, the HIV/AIDS epidemic here in the United States is still characterized by needless mortality, inadequate access to care and treatment, persistent levels of new cases of HIV infection and stark racial disparities. While showing leadership and providing needed funding in the global response to AIDS, the United States is failing its own citizens in response to the epidemic at home. The report released earlier this week on the epidemic in our nation's capital, which showed that Washington, D.C. bears one of the highest burdens of HIV disease in the U.S., underscores the degree to which HIV/AIDS is still a critical domestic issue. The U.S. message for World AIDS Day 2007 is clear: leadership is urgently needed for a national AIDS strategy to end the epidemic.

Over 170 organizations and hundreds of individuals in the U.S. have signed a Call to Action asking all Presidential candidates to commit to developing and implementing a national AIDS strategy. Such a strategy must be designed to bring down HIV infection rates, increase access to life saving treatment and specifically address the devastating impact HIV/AIDS is having on African American, Hispanic and other communities of color, gay men of all races and other groups at elevated vulnerability. A national AIDS strategy must identify clear priorities and timelines for action, have clear lines for accountability, rely on evidence-based programming and involve multiple sectors of our society, including people living with HIV/AIDS. The next President, along with Congress, must demonstrate the political will and leadership needed to stop AIDS.

AIDS Action commends that Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson for committing to developing a national AIDS strategy if elected President. We call on all of the other Presidential candidates to use this World AIDS Day to show leadership and to commit to a national AIDS strategy.

AIDS Action also encourages other organizations and individuals to sign unto the Call to Action for a National AIDS Strategy, at We urge all Americans to use this World AIDS Day and the current election period to get involved to raise awareness of the reality of HIV/AIDS in America. The devastating impact of the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic deserves public attention and increased government action and leadership. The time has come to end this epidemic.

CONTACT: Diego M. Sanchez, APR, +1-617.450.1524 (office), +1-617.835.1455 (mobile),, or Ronald Johnson, +1-202-530-8030 X3094 (office), +1-202-657-9320 (mobile),, both of AIDS Action


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