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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today concerning World AIDS Day:
“President Bush today – on World AIDS Day – called for compassion, honesty and decisive action to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. He is right. We cannot shy away from using all effective prevention strategies, which include education, abstinence, condoms, needle exchange and promotion of women’s rights.
“However, the Administration’s policies do not match the President’s bold pronouncement. So, on this day, let us renew our commitment to both increased funding and fully supporting all of the prevention measures we know will work in stemming the tide of new infections, sickness and needless death.
“Unfortunately, as we mark yet another World AIDS Day, the significant gains that have been made are not nearly enough. The world’s response continues to fall short of what is needed, especially in the area of prevention. Globally, new infections are expected to continue at a record pace – 5 million this year alone, and an estimated 45 million between 2002 and 2010.
“Clearly, in the absence of a vaccine, a crucial aspect in fighting this pandemic will be scaled-up and sustained prevention efforts. There is no question that we must continue to increase the numbers of people receiving treatment, and we will. This is important not only because suffering is being eased and lives are being saved, but treatment and prevention go hand-in-hand. We know that when treatment is available more people get tested. But simply getting more infected people treated will not do the job; prevention is essential.”