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On World AIDS Day, Reform Jewish Leader Calls for Increased Access to Treatment

Pelavin: “Let us recommit to honoring the memory of HIV/AIDS victims in the most meaningful way – by eradicating this deadly, and preventable, disease.”

Contact: Kate Bigam or David Goodman
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 1, 2009 – In honor of today’s observance of World AIDS Day, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

Today, as we observe World AIDS Day, we remember the destruction HIV/AIDS has wreaked on countless communities across the globe. More than 33 million people have contracted the virus and 25 million have died from it since 1981. The statistics are harrowing, but we must regain our focus in combating this disease.

The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is Universal Access and Human Rights. The growing numbers of Canadians contracting HIV/AIDS and the effort to achieve universal health care in the United States reminds us that access to health care for all patients is a right.

We are disappointed that the Obama Administration’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget will be the first in five years without a major increase in the commitment to fighting AIDS. Recent reports from Doctors without Borders tell of clinics refusing new patients altogether or accepting them only after a current patient dies. This underscores the need for robust funding from the United States and other developed nations to meet the demand for care.

Treatment must be both available and effective.  That is why we renew our call to end the abstinence provisions renewed in the 2008 reauthorization of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which contribute to the inefficiency in addressing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Comprehensive health education is crucial to preventing the spread of the disease.

We call on our leaders to join us in the battle to rid the world of HIV/AIDS and help improve the quality of life for those already affected. On this World AIDS Day, let us recommit to honoring the memory of HIV/AIDS victims in the most meaningful way – by eradicating this deadly, and preventable, disease.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.



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