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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 1, 1993




AIDS and HIV disease have cut short the lives of many Americans who had so much to contribute. They have plagued our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, and our friends and co-workers. The devastating effects of AIDS have touched all of us. More than one million of our fellow citizens are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Since January 1981, more than 340,000 Americans have developed AIDS, and more than 200,000 have died from complications resulting from AIDS.

On this World AIDS Day, we recognize and are humbled by the global impact of HIV disease. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 14 million people worldwide are infected with HIV and that more than 2.5 million have developed AIDS. By the end of this century, more than 30 million people will have been infected with HIV and, of those, more than 10 million adults will have developed AIDS.

The extent of HIV infection is overwhelming, but we must not allow ourselves to despair in the face of these daunting statistics. Instead, we must accelerate our efforts to find effective treatments, a vaccine, and an eventual cure for this scourge that haunts us.

This Administration has undertaken a new commitment to AIDS research and prevention and to the development of improved care and treatment for those with HIV disease. Through the strengthened Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health, we are increasing our efforts to improve treatments and working more effectively to find a cure for HIV and AIDS.

State governments and public health officials across our Nation have mobilized to educate the public and address the needs, not only of persons with AIDS, but also of their families and loved ones. Community-based organizations throughout the country have provided education, care programs, and support to those coping with HIV and their families. Volunteers across America, members of local service organizations, church groups, gay and lesbian service organizations, and thousands of individuals have heard the summons to action and have given selflessly of their time and energy. Those who labor to hasten the end of this terrible epidemic deserve our deep appreciation and admiration.

Education is our most effective tool in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. We need to ensure that all Americans will protect their lives and the lives of their loved ones by making safe and healthy choices. Government alone cannot solve this crisis. We all must look deep within our souls to find the compassion, the values, the spirit, and the commitment that will allow us to conquer this modern-day plague.

I call upon every American to join in the effort to fight the spread of HIV and to treat those living with HIV with dignity and respect. We all hope and pray for the day when we discover a cure and a preventive vaccine. Until that day -- which I know will come -- we all must work together, strengthen our resolve to marshal the resources necessary to end the epidemic, and increase our compassion for those who need our help in their struggle against HIV disease.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 1, 1993, as World AIDS Day, and I invite the Governors of the States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join me in reaffirming our commitment to combatting HIV/AIDS and to helping those living with this disease.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.


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