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Feldman: This World AIDS Day we recommit ourselves to ending the pandemic and fulfilling the dream of millions around the world to live full lives in health.
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Washington, November 30, 2007 –In observance of the nineteenth World AIDS Day this weekend, Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
As individuals from around the world gather together to renew their steadfast commitment to fight against one of the most deadly illnesses of the last quarter century, we remember all those who lost their lives to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the past year and before. In their memory, we renew our commitment not only to work to prevent further loss of life due to HIV/AIDS, but also to lower the number of new infections.
While these goals may seem daunting, our belief that we can bring an end to global HIV/AIDS has been strengthened by recent findings which show that for the first time the prevalence rate of the disease has leveled off. It is clear that our past efforts have not been in vain and by working together we have shown we can make a difference.
There is still a great deal of work to do. More than 33 million people currently live with HIV/AIDS worldwide and the tragic reality is such that in all likelihood as many as 3 million more will die in the next year. We must fight for an expansion of funding for the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) when it is re-authorized this year. We must make sure that PEPFAR focuses not just on treatment but also on prevention, which currently accounts for only twenty percent of funding. We must remove earmarks that require specific funding for programs that take an “abstinence-only” approach, often diverting funding from the most proven and effective programs.
The Reform Jewish community has long been at the forefront of the effort to address the HIV/AIDS crisis at home and abroad. This World AIDS Day we recommit ourselves to ending the pandemic and fulfilling the dream of millions around the world to live full lives in health.