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Clyburn On World Aids Day

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November 30, 2006
Thu, 11/30/2006 - 12:00am -- 1brightstar

WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Whip-elect, Congressman James E. Clyburn today made the following remarks about World AIDS Day, which will be commemorated tomorrow, Friday, December 1:

"The test of our progress as a great nation is how we reach out to, lift up and support those who are suffering. On this eve of World AIDS Day it is time we take up this calling and act. The Book of James clearly tells us that ‘faith without works is dead.'

"The U.N.'s 2006 AIDS Epidemic Update said that the HIV epidemic is growing, with an estimated 39.5 million people worldwide infected with the deadly virus. In addition, the report found:

-- 2.3 million of those living with HIV are children under the age of 15;
-- 4.3 million became newly infected last year, 530,000 of them children;
-- 2.9 million died of AIDS-related illnesses, 380,000 of them children.

"The time to act is long past due. Fortunately, people of faith and goodwill across our nation are speaking up and taking action. People such as Reverend Rick Warren at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, is holding his second national conference this week bringing together local pastors and AIDS experts to find solutions and pool resources to fight the epidemic. More than a thousand of our nation's evangelicals are expected to join him. Our prayers and hopes are with Reverend Warren and his conference.

"Groups representing many denominations including Episcopal, Methodist, Southern Baptist, Jewish, Catholic and Presbyterian organizations have developed initiatives that speak directly to the AIDS epidemic in both prayer and action.

"The ONE Campaign exists to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. It was founded by 11 of America's most well-known and respected aid groups: Bread for the World, CARE, DATA, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Plan USA, Save the Children US, World Concern, and World Vision.

"I commend and stand with everyone who is speaking out and taking action. Now, it is time for our government to be as faithful to our calling as its people.

"In order to turn the tide, our government must fully support efforts like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as meeting its promise found in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Promises mean nothing if not fully implemented.

"We must also support existing programs and make sure they are constantly adapted to meeting the dynamic needs of local communities. Prevention and treatment efforts must be included with efforts to fight poverty, empower women, and build the sustainable communities envisioned by the Millennium Development Goals.

"The American people understand our calling. They understand the need for action. Those of us entrusted to lead in Washington must also answer the call, meet the challenge and keep our promises.

"The statistics are staggering. But even more painful is to move beyond the numbers to the faces, the babies and mothers, the brothers and sisters, the moms and dads who are suffering the dying. We can not be silent. We must take action."

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