U.S. officials, lawmakers and activists gathered at the White House on the eve of World AIDS Day to discuss President Barack Obama's efforts on HIV/AIDS issues.
Following President Barack Obama's October announcement that the United States will no longer bar entry for HIV positive visitors, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the U.S. will host a global AIDS conference to show its commitment to fighting the disease.
"Today, I am pleased to announce that with the repeal of the ban, the International AIDS Society will hold the 2012 International AIDS conference in Washington, D.C.," said Hillary Clinton.
Clinton said the conference will bring together an estimated 30,000 researchers, policymakers and activists from around the world.
Clinton noted that repeal of the U.S. entry ban on people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, will take effect next year.
She said the U.S. battle against HIV/AIDS marks the largest effort in history by any nation to combat a single disease. Clinton added that the United States is committed to helping the more than 33 million people with HIV/AIDS to live longer by increasing the availability of effective medications.
The secretary of state said such steps provide hope in the fight against the pandemic.
"We can take some heart in the progress that has been made over the last two decades," she said. "Access to antiretroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries has risen tenfold in the last five years. New HIV infections have fallen by 17 percent over the last eight years, and much of that progress has been due to the concerted efforts of the United States government and our partners."
Clinton's comments came on the eve of World AIDS Day. Held on December 1 of each year since 1988, the event was created as a way to increase awareness, raise research funds, improve education and fight the stigma associated with the disease.