Noting the 2010 reversal of the HIV travel and immigration ban allowing the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) to be held in the U.S. for the first time in more than 20 years, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) writes in a Huffington Post Blog opinion piece, "It is so exciting to host this conference at such a pivotal time in the history of the AIDS response," and adds, "At no other time in history has our global leadership been more important than it is right now." With nearly 25,000 people from about 200 countries expected to gather in Washington, D.C., for the conference July 22-27, "These leaders in the global HIV and AIDS fight will showcase their incredible efforts and achievements on our own soil" and "have the opportunity to develop new solutions in addressing the ongoing challenges posed by HIV/AIDS in our own country and around the world," Lee writes.
"We are literally at a tipping point in the fight against AIDS -- and it is critical we not let this progress slip away," she continues, noting domestic efforts to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. "Globally, we must work to protect the precious resources that are at stake in this fight by ensuring full funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and encourage all donors and governments to step up and increase funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria," she writes, adding, "We must also repeal discriminatory laws and enact laws that facilitate and enable effective responses to HIV prevention, care and treatment services for all who need them." Lee concludes, "Now is the time to act boldly and to invest in a future for America and a world that is more prosperous, more equal, and free of HIV and AIDS. I hope that Americans will feel a sense of pride in our brave leadership and support our efforts to work for a world without AIDS" (7/5).