WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee, commemorated the 34th anniversary of World AIDS Day Thursday. Excerpts can be found below. Senator Cardin’s full statement can be found at this link and in the Congressional Record.
“Established in 1988, World AIDS Day marked the first international day for global health. Since then, World AIDS Day has adopted targeted themes to raise awareness and encourage international cooperation … Vulnerable groups such as young women, gay men, transgender people, people of color, and sex workers struggle to access contraception, testing, treatment, and new technologies. Criminalization, discrimination, and social stigmas continue to target these vulnerable populations across the globe … [O]ur fight cannot be won until such inequalities are eliminated.
“I particularly applaud Maryland’s scientific community and academic partners – including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Walter Reed Army Institute of Infectious Disease Research, the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University – for their groundbreaking research initiatives. For example, NIH funded research, including clinical trials, to develop Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), medication designed to prevent high-risk individuals from contracting HIV.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Americans diagnosed with HIV or at risk of transmission have more meaningful access to healthcare coverage and health insurance. Today, Americans cannot be dropped or denied coverage because of pre-existing health conditions such as HIV. The ACA also gives states the option to expand Medicaid, the largest payer for those who need HIV treatment in the country. The ACA’s investments in community health centers’ Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative is an integral part of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
“Our battle against HIV is far from over. The U.S. must continue to define global health leadership and facilitate cooperation with our foreign partners and allies. I commend President Biden for his enduring support for [the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] PEPFAR. I also recognize international partnerships, including the Global Fund along with faith-based organizations and civil society for their long-held commitment to eradicating HIV/AIDS. Most importantly, I want to recognize those living with HIV/AIDS across the globe. Your dignity, fortitude, and endurance testify to the extraordinary power of the human spirit. And in accordance with that drive and spirit, we will prevail in this fight.”