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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 30, 1994




On this World AIDS Day, we recognize the countless determined individuals who have provided assistance to those affected by HIV and AIDS, and we redouble our efforts to work with our international partners and to confront the enormous challenges that remain. Here and around the world, people are reaching out to those who are living with HIV and AIDS and are joining the fight to stop this epidemic. The theme of this year's commemoration, "Families and AIDS," is especially fitting. When one person suffers, the entire global family is affected. Today, we pledge to keep faith with the thousands of people living with HIV and AIDS and their families -- their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, their friends, neighbors, and loved ones.

In slightly more than 13 years, AIDS has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 Americans -- nearly five times as many men and women as were killed in the Korean War. If current trends continue, by the end of this decade we will have lost half a million people to this insidious disease, more than our Nation's total losses in World War II. The World Health Organization estimates that 30 to 40 million people worldwide will have been infected with HIV by the end of the decade. The problem of HIV and AIDS is global, and it is one of staggering proportions. The United States will continue to work with our global partners in the worldwide battle against HIV and AIDS.

Here at home in response to the epidemic, hundreds of community-based organizations have devoted themselves to provide medical care, social and support services, respite care, meal delivery, and education and prevention programs to persons with HIV or AIDS. Together with those they serve, the men and women of these organizations -- most of whom are volunteers -- are the heroes of our common struggle.

In the past two years, our Nation has reenergized its response to HIV and AIDS. At a time of zero budget growth, funding for AIDS programs has been increased by 30 percent. AIDS research funding has risen by 25 percent, and money going to grants under the Ryan White CARE Act has been increased by 82 percent, bringing vital services to thousands of men, women, and children in need. Our research efforts have been reorganized and refocused, and they have already begun to produce results. When scientists discovered that treatment with AZT could sharply reduce the risk of HIV transmission from mothers to their unborn children, the Government acted quickly both to provide women and their health care professionals with new guidelines and to change the labeling on that drug. Already, we are saving lives.

On World AIDS Day, we rededicate ourselves to the battle against HIV and AIDS. Our Government must continue to do its part, including reauthorizing the Ryan White CARE Act and continuing to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. Business and community leaders must push forward in their remarkable efforts to educate people everywhere. And every one of us must strive to reach out to those who are living with HIV and AIDS to make their paths a little smoother, to make their hearts a little lighter, and to make their lives a little richer.

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, 1994, as "World AIDS Day." 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 combat HIV and AIDS and to reach out with compassion to 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-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and nineteenth.


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