Washington, DC — Today, leaders from the national HIV/AIDS movement unveiled the Declaration to End HIV/AIDS in America. In a signing ceremony at the first ever Summit to End HIV/AIDS in America, being held in conjunction with the 16th annual United States Conference on AIDS, signatories underscored critical scientific and policy developments that will greatly impact the fight against the disease and committed themselves fully to realizing the dream of an America without AIDS.
"For the first time in over thirty years, it is possible to realistically envision an end to HIV/AIDS," said National Minority AIDS Council Director of Legislative & Public Affairs Kali Lindsey. "Scientific advances like treatment as prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis have provided exciting new tools to combat the spread of HIV, while the Affordable Care Act will greatly expand access to care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. But ending this epidemic will not be easy. Today, leaders from all over the United States signed the Declaration to End HIV/AIDS in America to publically commit themselves to making this dream a reality."
The Declaration was developed by the National Minority AIDS Council in conjunction with a blue ribbon panel of more than 80 HIV/AIDS activists and advocates from across the country and chaired by Dr. Julio Montaner, an internationally renowned researcher and a leader in the successful use of treatment as prevention. The following is an excerpt from the Declaration:
We, the undersigned, recognize that we are at a pivotal moment in our battle against this disease. Policy and science have aligned like never before, making it possible to realistically envision an end to this epidemic. Now our nation faces a fundamental choice: we can continue to sacrifice our public and fiscal health on the status quo, or we can choose to make the smart investments and structural changes necessary to finally end HIV/AIDS. We are committed to doing what it takes to end this epidemic and drafted this declaration to codify the values and principles that should guide our efforts. We publically dedicate our skills, faith, and resources to ending HIV/AIDS in America.
Original signers included Paul Kawata (National Minority AIDS Council), Julie Scofield (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors), Lance Toma (Asian & Pacific Island Wellness Center), Therese Rodriguez (APICHA Community Health Center), Tyler TerMeer (Ohio AIDS Coalition), Tommy Chesbro, Angela Green (IRIS Center), Michael Kaplan (Cascade AIDS Project), Phill Wilson (Black AIDS Institute) and Pernessa Seele (the Balm in Gilead). Following the signing ceremony the Declaration will be made available to delegates of the U.S. Conference on AIDS to sign. Following the conference, the public will able to endorse the document as well. The entire Declaration can be viewed online here: http://nmac.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DeclarationToEndAIDSInAmerica_FINAL.pdf.
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) represents a coalition of faith based and community based organizations as well as AIDS service organizations advocating and delivering HIV/AIDS services in communities of color nationwide. Since 1987, NMAC has developed leadership in communities of color through a variety of advocacy campaigns, public policy education programs, national conferences, research programs, capacity building, technical assistance and trainings, and digital and electronic resource materials. For more information visit www.nmac.org .