Resident commissioner, congressional caucus colleagues mark World AIDS Day with resolution
By The Star Staff
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón and U.S. Rep. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), co-chairs of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, recognized World AIDS Day on Thursday by introducing a resolution supporting its goals.
The theme of the 34th annual World AIDS Day is “Tackling Inequalities That Perpetuate the AIDS Pandemic,” which recognizes the urgent need to address health inequities and the need to lift up experiences, solutions and innovations from the HIV community. Globally, the United States’ efforts through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and PEPFAR are dramatically reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Domestically, people with HIV are living longer and the rate of diagnoses have decreased because of programs like the Ryan White Minority AIDS Initiative.
“We’ve come a long way in understanding and countering HIV and AIDS around the world, thanks to the significant improvements that have been made in research, prevention and treatment,” González Colón said. “Now, while we reach our goal to free our communities from this epidemic, it is necessary to strengthen outreach and educational tools to fight the stigma that continues affecting HIV patients, as well as to ensure accessible healthcare. As co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, on this 34th Annual World AIDS Day, I’m proud to support the common goal of tackling disparities in health services faced by disadvantaged HIV groups in our nation, including the more than 15,848 people diagnosed in my district, Puerto Rico.”
Lee added that “we remember those that we have lost in the struggle against this disease and the millions across the globe that continue to fight against it,” Lee said. “Just as the COVID-19 pandemic exposed deep health disparities, we know the HIV and AIDS epidemic disproportionately affects communities of color and LGBTQ communities, here in the U.S. and in developing nations. As co-chair of the Congressional HIV & AIDS Caucus, I’m dedicated to addressing these disparities in access to life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare, services and education so that we can achieve the first AIDS-free generation.”