President Obama announced Monday that the federal government would redirect $100 million to a new research program at the National Institutes of Health seeking a cure to HIV.
While speaking at a World AIDS Day event at the White House, the president said that although the disease "now comes with a good chance at a healthy and productive life," the U.S. needs to "keep focusing on investments" to fight the spread of HIV.
The president said he was committed to do "everything in our power to save those who we can," and said he hoped he would see the efforts result in an "AIDS-free generation."
"That’s the world I want for my daughters. That’s the world we want for all our families," Obama said.
Funding for the new $100 million program will be diverted from other AIDS research funding. The administration says that while some individuals appear to have recently been cured of the disease through "aggressive therapy," those approaches are too premature for broad use.
But, the White House says, those cases "provide clues" for new possible treatments that could be scalable to help put HIV into remission.
The announcement of a new HIV/AIDS initiative on World AIDS Day has become something of a tradition for the president.
In 2011, he pledged $50 million in additional funding intended to help provide medical services for 7,500 more patients across the country, and to help 3,000 of the 6,500 Americans on drug waiting lists get access to lifesaving medications.
On Monday, Obama announced that, as of last week, that waiting list had been cleared.
"We are going to win this fight, and I’m confident that we'll do so together," Obama said.
The president also used the occasion to promote the benefits of his embattled signature healthcare law, noting that HIV testing would be free under ObamaCare insurance plans.
"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of insured Americans will be able to get tested free of charge," Obama said.
The event drew top officials from the White House and Obama administration, including Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of State John Kerry and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Top public health officials and philanthropists — including billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates — were also in attendance.
The administration last weekend hung a giant red ribbon in front of the North Portico of the White House.
White House Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Muñoz said the ribbon served as a symbol of both "this administration's commitment to fight HIV/AIDS" and "a reminder that we're seeing progress, internationally and at home."