Enzi Marks World AIDS Day

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee made the following comments today on the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day:

“More than 40 million people in the world are living with HIV/AIDS, and millions more are infected each year.  Though we have taken steps to combat the disease, we must continue to fight this global epidemic on a number of fronts with every nation as a partner.  Early and consistent treatment, promotion of testing, education and prevention campaigns, and cutting-edge research are all critical to fighting HIV/AIDS.

“I hope that today will serve as a reminder to people about the importance of getting tested for HIV and knowing one’s status.  Making an HIV test part of a routine physical exam is an important step toward improving treatment of HIV/AIDS patients and stopping the spread of the disease.  For so long, we could only treat the symptoms of AIDS and provide comfort to the dying.  Today, we have the ability to fight back against HIV itself.  We have medicines that can effectively halt the evolution of HIV and help people live normal lives.” 

According to the Wyoming Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS surveillance report, 166 Wyoming residents had HIV/AIDS as of Dec. 31, 2007, which is the second lowest rate of AIDS cases in the country.  However, the state has seen data indicating a relatively large increase in AIDS cases this year.  In 2008, 24 residents have already joined Wyoming’s HIV/AIDS Early Intervention Services program compared to the six to 10 new cases that are typically added to the program each year, according to a Nov. 24 article in the Casper-Star Tribune.  As Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee, Enzi will continue to work with his fellow committee members on renewing and improving the Ryan White Care Act, which provides care and treatment for individuals with HIV and AIDS in the United States.

The first World AIDS Day was held on December 1, 1988.