By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Despite the progress that has been made in the fight against HIV-AIDS over the past several years, many patients in impoverished countries around the world are still lacking access to life-saving treatments, according to US Rep. Yvette Clarke, who is pushing legislation to improve their odds of survival.
Clarke (D-Crown Heights-Brownsville-East Flatbush) issued a statement on Dec. 2, one day after World AIDS Day took place on Dec. 1.
“Let us dedicate ourselves to the eradication of HIV-AIDS, a disease that has killed more than 30 million people, a disease with which more than 35 million people are living in the United States and around the world. Despite forms of treatments that have been developed in recent years, many people are unable to access either these treatments or critical health services that could prevent the transmission of the disease,” Clarke stated.
Earlier this year, Clarke introduced the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2013. Her proposed legislation would “substantially increase access to sexual and reproductive health care in developing countries,” she said, vowing to push for its passage. “I will continue to pursue the enactment of this legislation to end the threat of HIV-AIDS,” the congresswoman said.
“In addition, I continue to support funding for HIV-AIDS prevention in Brooklyn and in the United States, increased funding for HIV-AIDS research, and increased access to healthcare for those living with the disease in Brooklyn and the United States,” she stated.
Clarke served as a councilwoman prior to her election to congress in 2007. As a council member, she founded the council’s AIDS Task Force.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day, an event aimed at raising awareness of the disease. The commemoration always takes place on Dec. 1. Protest demonstrations, art exhibitions, donation drives, and other events are held in cities across the globe on World AIDS Day.
On Sunday, WCBS Newsradio 880 reported that a large crowd of participants held a rally in Times Square calling for an end to the AIDS epidemic in New York State.
According the federal government’s AIDS website, the theme for WORLD AIDS Day 2013 was “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.”
While significant progress has been made in places like the US and Europe to detect AIDS early and provide treatments to prolong the lives of patients, the World Health Organization (WHO), on its website, reported that more than 2 million young people between the ages of 10 and 19 years are living with HIV. Millions more are at risk of infection, according to the WHO.
Between 2005 and 2012, the number of AIDS-related deaths of young people jumped 50 percent, in sharp contrast to the rest of the population, which saw a 30 percent decrease in the death rate, the WHO reported.