WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama set an ambitious goal Thursday for significantly increasing access to life-saving AIDS drugs for people in the U.S. and around the world, as he announced a renewed American commitment to ending a pandemic that has killed 30 million people.
"We can beat this disease," Obama declared during a World AIDS Day event in Washington. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also participated via satellite.
Obama pledged U.S. support to help 6 million people in countries hardest hit by the virus get access to antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2013, increasing the original U.S. goal by 2 million. And he announced plans to boost spending on HIV treatment in the U.S. by $50 million.
"The rate of new infections may be going down elsewhere, but it's not going down here in America," he said. "There are communities in this country being devastated still by this disease. When new infections among young, black, gay men increase by nearly 50 percent in three years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter."