AIDSWatch Organizers Honor Members of Congress for Dedication to Ending HIV

AIDSWatch 2014 organizers will be honoring two retiring members of Congress who have been leaders in advancing public policy that helps to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.

WASHINGTON D.C. – April 9, 2014 – Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) A leader on health and environmental issues, Rep. Waxman has fought for universal health insurance, comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid coverage, tobacco regulation, AIDS research and treatment, air and water quality standards, pesticide regulations, nursing home quality standards, women’s health research and reproductive rights, affordable prescription drugs, and community rights to know about pollution levels. Rep. Waxman has been a stalwart congressional champion in the fight against HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (1979-1994), Rep. Waxman was an architect of the Ryan White CARE Act and was instrumental in each of the act’s reauthorizations and has continued to be a strong supporter of the Ryan White Program as Ranking Member of the Energy & Commerce Comm. Rep. Waxman was a key congressional advocate for comprehensive health care reform and was a champion in the House passage of the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Waxman has strongly supported increased federal funding for domestic HIV programs.

Delegate Donna Christensen (D-VI) is in her ninth term, and is the first female physician to serve as a Member in the history of the U.S. Congress. She has been a strong advocate for sound, science-based public health policies and has worked to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS in African American communities, and has been an advocate for improving health care systems in the U.S. territories, including the Virgin Islands. Delegate Christensen earned her Doctor of Medicine degree in 1970 from George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. She interned at Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, California from 1970 to 1971 and did her residency in family medicine at Howard University Medical Center from 1973 to 1974. She became a board certified family physician in 1977, and has served HIV/AIDS patients throughout her entire medical career. Delegate Christensen chairs the Congressional Black Caucus’ Health Braintrust, which oversees and advocates minority health issues nationally and internationally, including issues related to HIV/AIDS.

“These two Members of Congress have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their work to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States and its territories,” said Ronald Johnson, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for AIDS United, one of the AIDSWatch 2014 organizing sponsors. “The AIDSWatch organizers and sponsors are proud to honor them for their dedication to achieving an AIDS-free generation, which we finally have in our sight. Thanks to their commitment, we are closer than we have ever been this goal in the United States and around the world.”

AIDSWatch is organized by the Treatment Access Expansion Project (TAEP), AIDS United, and the US People Living with HIV Caucus. Sponsors for AIDSWatch 2014 include amfAR, AIDS Project Los Angeles, BMS, Campaign to End AIDS, Community Education Group, Health HIV, FHI360, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the International Association of Providers in AIDS Care, Legacy Community Health Services, and the National Minority AIDS Council.

Promoting sound public policy that brings an end to the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic is the mission of AIDSWatch 2014, the nation’s largest HIV-focused advocacy event. AIDSWatch 2014 will bring together hundreds of people living with HIV and their allies to meet with Members of Congress and educate them about the impact of federal law and policy on people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, including the Affordable Care Act, the Ryan White Program, syringe exchange, and laws that criminalize people with HIV.