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Jill Biden says US to increase funding to fight HIV/AIDS in Latin America

The United States will increase aid to Latin America to combat HIV/AIDS, First Lady Jill Biden said on Saturday during a visit to Panama.

Biden made the announcement while visiting the Casa Hogar el Buen Samaritano — “The Good Samaritan Home” — a shelter east of Panama City for people living with HIV.

Biden’s spokesman Michael La Rosa said in a statement that the United States will send an additional $80.9 million to Latin America, $12 million of which will go to Panama.

“The State Department is making an announcement for increased funding for PEPFAR,” Biden said, referring to the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

“There is hope on the horizon,” said Biden, who is on a tour of Latin America including Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica.

PEPFAR was launched by former president George Bush in 2003. The United States has invested $100 billion in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

During her visit to Panama, Biden spoke with several HIV/AIDS patients, who told her about discrimination they face.

“This is something that is not talked about in my village, and that is why we have to migrate to the big cities,” said Raul Tugri, an Indigenous man who has been HIV positive since 2014.

“I think it starts within the family unit within the churches, to start changing people’s attitudes,” Biden told him. “I have hope for you.”

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