Selina Clement holds her 7-year-old son Emanuel at an HIV drop in center in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Both are HIV positive.
Chris Steele-Perkins/Magnum

Obama on combating HIV/AIDS: ‘Work is far from finished’


President Obama reaffirmed America’s commitment to combat HIV/AIDS on Monday in observation of the 25th annual World AIDS Day.

The commander-in-chief said that while “awareness has soared” and “research has surged,” America’s “work is far from finished.”

Obama announced that $100 million will be given to a National Institutes of Health program to help find a cure for the disease.

“The United States of America will remain the global leader in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” he said. “I believe we are going to win this fight.”

He also took the opportunity to promote his signature Affordable Care Act, which has had a bumpy rollout. Obama pointed out that under the law, no American can be denied healthcare coverage because of their HIV status.

Obama’s remarks come on the heels of a bipartisan group of 40 lawmakers pressuring the president to call on the government to double the number of people on lifesaving, anti-retroviral drugs by the end of his presidency via the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

In June, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the number of people on treatment supported by PEPFAR (first proposed by President George W. Bush) has increased to 6 million and that world-wide, 1 million babies had been born without HIV as a result of PEPFAR-supported efforts.

According to the World Health organization, approximately 35 million live with HIV/AIDS around the globe . The Centers for Disease Control estimates there are 1 million in the U.S. currently living with HIV.