Rep. Pelosi praises progress, warns against complacency in fighting AIDS

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Friday urged a greater commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Speaking before the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., the California Democrat said recent successes in combating the disease are welcome but shouldn't lead the world's governments to curtail their search for a cure.

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"Where there is scientific opportunity, there is a moral obligation to fund it," Pelosi said. "Where there are people in need of drugs and care – and communities in need of prevention – we have a moral obligation to provide it. And where there is discrimination, we have a moral obligation to continue to fight it."

The five-day conference — attended by thousands of scientists, researchers and healthcare advocates spanning the globe — featured a number of prominent figures and policymakers worldwide.

On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the forum to announce that the United States would provide $150 million in new funding for global efforts against AIDS.

On Thursday, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Nobel Peace laureate, addressed the crowd by video, followed immediately by former first lady Laura Bush, who emphasized the importance of women in the fight against the disease.

“When you look around the world, you see that women are in the forefront of life changing progress,” Bush said.

Bill Gates and former President Clinton also spoke at the event.

The convention is being held amid a flurry of encouraging developments in the decades-old battle against HIV/AIDS.

This summer alone, the Food and Drug Administration approved a drug that's shown promise in preventing healthy people from contracting the disease, as well as the first over-the-counter AIDS test that allows patients to screen for the virus in their own homes.

Pelosi cheered the progress but challenged policymakers to stay on the offensive.

"This optimism must not make us complacent," she said. "Even in difficult fiscal times, cutting back on our HIV/AIDS investments is a false economy that costs us more in the future.

"HIV/AIDS is still adapting," she added. "So must we."