December 1, 2016
- Your Excellency, President Danilo Medina
- Honorable Minister of Health, Altagracia Guzmán Marcelino
- Mr. Lorenzo Jiménez de Luis, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations
- Dr. Víctor Terrero, Director of CONAVIHSIDA
- Ms. Dulce Amonte , President of the Network of People Living with HIV
- Ladies and Gentlemen, members of the press
It is a great honor to be here with you today in commemoration of World AIDS Day. While we mark another day in this beautiful country, today is an opportunity to remember those who were taken from us too soon and to re-commit ourselves to a world free from AIDS.
We remember the 35 million people who we have lost to AIDS-related illnesses since the epidemic was recognized 3 decades ago.
We remember the parents and children who lost the blessing of seeing their generations grow and flourish.
Here in the Dominican Republic, we remember the nearly 70,000 Dominicans living with HIV who rise each day with the same hopes and dreams as the rest of us. They are our friends and neighbors. They are our family.
But today, on this World AIDS Day, we also have reason to celebrate:
We celebrate the heroes in the health sector, the civil society members, and the dedicated government officials who remain committed to ensuring all Dominicans affected by HIV have access to the prevention and treatment services they need to have long, healthy, and productive lives.
We celebrate the progress that has been made on reducing stigma and discrimination toward people living with HIV, because we know that discrimination against any one of us lessens our collective human dignity.
We celebrate the Government of the Dominican Republic’s commitment to meeting its “90-90-90” goals by funding ARV medication for all of its citizens.
And we at the U.S. Embassy celebrate the historic act of compassion on the part of the American people who, since 2003, have supported life-saving treatment for more than 10 million people globally through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or “PEPFAR”.
While we know that our work is far from done, we reaffirm our partnership with the Dominican Republic to work toward ending HIV/AIDS as a public health threat in the country.
And we must remember that ending HIV/AIDS starts with each and every one of us. Every one of us can do our part by getting an HIV test and supporting our friends and family to do the same. As President Obama said, “Together, we can forge a future in which no person — here in America or anywhere in our world — knows the pain or stigma caused by HIV/AIDS.”