Five Members of Congress gathered outside the Capitol on Thursday morning, September 15, to announce the formation of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan Caucus, noting that it had 59 members as of its debut and it would be welcoming additional Members in the weeks ahead.
Joining Congresswoman Lee at the event and as founding co-chairs of the Caucus were Congressman Jim McDermott (D-CA) and Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ). Representative Franks observed that there are some issues on which Members of Congress “can find great common ground” and HIV/AIDS was one of them. According to the co-chairs, the Caucus will work to maintain global leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world, and to galvanize new leadership in preparation for the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. in July, 2012. Also participating in the announcement were Representatives Donna Christensen (D-VI) and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam).
Noting that several members of the Caucus were early advocates for a U.S. National AIDS Strategy, Mr. Jeffrey Crowley, Director of the White House Office of AIDS Policy, remarked “I look forward to working with the Caucus to seize this moment in time so we can say we made a difference in the epidemic.”
Also participating in the event and praising the formation of the caucus were Mr. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS ; Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator; Mr. Ronald Johnson of AIDS United ; Mr. Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and current advisor to the ONE Campaign ; and Mr. Jim Hill of World Vision .