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Committee Hears Impacts of Ab-Only

On Wednesday, for the first time, a Congressional committee heard public health experts and young people testify about the effects of abstinence-only programs.

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World AIDS Day — December 1

Cecile Richards is president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Accountability, for you, for me, for us. That's the theme for World AIDS Day 2006 and there couldn't be a more appropriate time to spread a more important message. Twenty-five years into the HIV/AIDS pandemic, infection rates are at record levels and are still rising. We must hold ourselves accountable and we must take action.

The numbers are sobering, and worth repeating: Forty million adults and children are currently infected with HIV/AIDS around the world – that's the entire population of Spain. And in the last year alone, more than four million men, women, and children were infected, and three million died.

HIV/AIDS does not discriminate – that much we know. But it does destroy families, weaken communities, and affect economic growth and security. And right now, the rates of HIV infection are spiraling higher in certain populations, particularly women and youth, the most vulnerable among us. In countries such as Thailand or Uganda, where HIV/AIDS was thought to be on the decline, the epidemic is resurging. This is unacceptable, especially because we can prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

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