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Successful World AIDS Day 2011

By Tim Anderson
AIDS Advocacy Network Chair, AMSA

Nationally, World AIDS Day was a success. President Obama made a firm commitment to treat 6 million new cases by 2013 - the goal which we have been calling for. He pledged 50 million dollars to be re-directed from public health funds toward Ryan White and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) to help shrink the waiting lists here in the United States.

I've very proud of the AMSA members across the country for working hard to organize local World AIDS Day events from charity fundraisers to educational talks to policy actions. Please email pictures & descriptions for us to post online - we've already started to get materials from AMSA chapters around the country which will be up on shortly.

Thank you to all those who wrote letters to the editor, op-eds, and other messages to alert the world of the dire funding state of global HIV/AIDS. Over 100 AMSA members sent in LTEs on WAD or in response to Clinton's speech earlier in November. We've had letters published in Iowa, New York, Illinois, Florida, Washington D.C., and Ohio.

Unfortunately this week also had its share of bad news - the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was forced to cancel its annual funding round for 2013 due to decreased contributions from donor countries. This is unacceptable. Not only does the funding freeze means decreased access to treatment globally but hundreds of hours wasted by countries and non-profits in writing grants and designing AIDS treatment plans which will now go unfunded. Industrialized countries have broken a promise to the world's most vulnerable populations and we must call on the U.S. and other industrialized countries to strengthen their promise.

As 2011 comes to a close we turn our eyes to the International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Washington DC this July. For the first time in its long history, the International AIDS Conference will be hosted in the United States (thanks to President Obama's repeal of the HIV travel ban). The IAC offers an amazing opportunity in which global leaders, researchers, policy-makers, and activists come together to press forward towards ending HIV/AIDS. AMSA's AIDS Advocacy Network will be working to organize premedical and medical students to come to D.C. and rally before the conference to call for a GLOBAL commitment to ending HIV/AIDS. Please email us to be involved in planning as the conference is only 7 months away and we would love to have your chapter involved.

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