President Barack Obama may have reached the end of his term in the White House, but he is certainly not done fighting in battle to end HIV.
On Wednesday, the White House released a video addressing World AIDS Day, where Obama reflected on his administration’s commitment to the stopping the HIV pandemic not just in the United States, but also all over the world.
During his address, Obama committed to expanding countries HIV aid to reach a further two million by the end of next year.
“We have quadrupled the number people receiving treatment through PEPFAR. We are now supporting over 11 million men, women, and children across the world with lifesaving antiretroviral treatment and I have committed the U.S. to increase that number to 13 million people by the end of next year.”
Obama finished his address by reaffirming his personal commitment to the cause beyond his presidency.
HIV in the Nation’s Capital
“There have been great strides in the district to ending the HIV epidemic,” said Megan Coleman, Whitman-Walker Health Director of Community Research.
Coleman says that there has been a 70% overall decrease in new HIV diagnoses in the past seven years. “However, along with the positive strides towards ending the HIV epidemic,” she said.
“Communities of color, especially African Americans, are disproportionally affected. While HIV risk has affected many populations, African American residents represent 75% of people living with HIV and represent under 50% of the population of Washington D.C.,” Coleman explained.
Engaging the LGBTQ Community
As HIV disproportionately affect the LGBTQ community, particularly men who have sex with men, the White House will host its latest regional LGBT Summit in New Orleans on Thursday, December 1.
These regional LGBT Summits provide an opportunity to highlight federal services available to the LGBTQ community, lift up the work of local LGBTQ activists and allies, and create a networking forum for advocates to connect and discuss ideas.