Press

December 1 is World AIDS Day

Date: 
November 28, 2002

Following is a statement by
Lorri L. Jean, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"Worldwide, there are nearly 8,000 AIDS-related deaths every day and there are an estimated 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS. And since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic, more than 20 million people have been taken from us. With infection rates rising around the world, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) commends the United Nations, World Health Organization (WHO) and activists around the world for their efforts to keep AIDS at the forefront of our collective consciousness through the yearly "AIDS Epidemic Update" report and World AIDS Day organizing.

NGLTF calls on the government of the United States to be more pro-actively involved in the national and international fights against AIDS. The need is so dire that immediate action must be taken. The African countries of Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, have the highest HIV infection rates in the world — an estimated half of the population between the ages of 25 and 29 are dying of the disease. An explosion of HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Asia will prove to have a devastating human and economic impact. And, the UN and WHO predict a resurgence of AIDS cases in wealthier nations unless renewed public health campaigns are undertaken. The U.S. must take action now by participating in large-scale public education campaigns and offering free or low-cost AIDS medications — tactics which have proven effective in slowing the rapid spread of the disease in countries like Brazil and Uganda.

We must not let complacency and indifference lead to worldwide devastation."

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.