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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 17, 1996

Statement by the President

I am pleased today to receive the first-ever National AIDS Strategy. In the fifteen years of this epidemic, we have never had such a unified strategy. This strategy represents an important milestone in the history of the fight to defeat this epidemic.

The National Strategy reiterates our administration's and our nation's commitment to winning the battle against AIDS. It establishes six major goals for our national efforts: to find a cure and a vaccine; to reduce new HIV infections; to assure people living with HIV and AIDS access to high-quality care; to fight AIDS-related discrimination at every turn; to lead the global fight to end AIDS; and to translate our research advances into treatment as quickly as possible.

These goals will help to guide our work in the coming term, and more specifically in the coming year. We have made significant progress in the last four years. Researchers working toward a cure and a vaccine are reporting encouraging news and giving us hope. New treatments, approved by the FDA in record time, are producing some very encouraging results in terms of the quality of people's lives and the potential for extending the length of life.

This progress results from more than a decade of investment in AIDS research, prevention, and care. I am very proud that in the four budgets my Administration has produced, funding for AIDS programs has increased by 55 percent. We have also strengthened the Office of AIDS Research at NIH and tripled funding for AIDS drug assistance programs.

Despite this progress, we must recognize that the AIDS epidemic is not over. Far too many of our sons and daughters are still losing their lives to this epidemic every day. Far too many are still becoming infected. We will win the battle against HIV, but to do so we must stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight and we must build on the strides we have made. I am confident that my Administration will do its part and that we have taken yet another step forward in that battle today.