US President Barack Obama on Wednesday said that fighting HIV/AIDS in America and around the world will require more than just fighting the virus as he unveiled a new strategy to combat this dreaded disease.
"Fighting HIV/AIDS in America and around the world will require more than just fighting the virus. It will require a broader effort to make life more just and equitable for the people who inhabit this Earth," Obama said at a White House event to honour people who fight HIV and AIDS.
"That's a cause to which I will be firmly committed so long as I have the privilege of serving as President,"he said.
"We're here because we believe in an America where those living with HIV/AIDS are not viewed with suspicion, but treated with respect, where they're provided the medications and health care they need, where they can live out their lives as fully as their health allows," he said.
The new HIV/AIDS strategy sets a goal of reducing new infections by 25 per cent during the next five years, getting treatment for 85 per cent of patients within three months of their diagnosis, and increasing education about the virus, even in communities with low rates of infection.
"We've increased federal assistance each year that I've been in office, providing an emergency supplement this year to help people get the drugs they need, even as we pursue a national strategy that focuses on three central goals," he said.
Obama said the new strategy promotes a comprehensive approach to reducing the number of new HIV infections from expanded testing so people can learn their status, to education so people can curb risky behaviours, to drugs that can prevent a mother from transmitting a virus to her child.
"To support our new direction, we're investing $30 million in new money, and I've committed to working with Congress to make sure these investments continue in the future," he said.
"To extend lives and stem transmission, we need to make sure every HIV-positive American gets the medical care that they need. By stopping health insurers from denying coverage because of a preexisting condition and by creating a marketplace where people with HIV/AIDS can buy affordable care, the health insurance reforms I signed into law this year are an important step forward," Obama said."Third goal is reducing health disparities by combating the disease in communities where the need is greatest."
"Reducing new HIV infections, improving care for people living with HIV/AIDS, narrowing health disparities, these are the central goals of our national strategy. They must be pursued hand in hand with our global public health strategy to roll back the pandemic beyond our borders," he said.
"They must be pursued by a government that is acting as one. So we need to make sure all our efforts are coordinated within the federal government and across federal, state and local governments, because that's how we'll achieve results that let Americans live longer and healthier lives." he said.