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Statement on the Report of the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic

June 27, 1988

I have just been briefed on the unanimous report of the Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic by Adm. James D. Watkins, the Commission's Chairman. The report represents an impressive effort and significantly increases our level of understanding to deal with AIDS. To begin implementing this report, I am today directing Dr. Ian Macdonald, a distinguished physician and my Special Assistant for Drug Policy, to present to me within 30 days a course of action that takes us forward. At Admiral Watkins' suggestion, I have also directed Dr. Macdonald to include among his priorities consideration of specific measures to strengthen implementation of the policy guidance from "AIDS in the Workplace,'' recently issued by the Office of Personnel Management.

The report embraces the major concepts my administration laid out over a year ago: to be compassionate towards victims of the disease; to care for them with dignity and kindness; and at the same time, to inform and educate our citizens so that we can prevent the further spread of the disease.

There is a direct relationship between drug abuse and the spread of the HIV virus that becomes AIDS. It is critical that particular attention be focused on this relationship now, while developing a national consensus on additional anti-drug abuse measures.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to Admiral Watkins and all of the Commission participants for their perseverance and diligence in completing their work. It is my hope that we can continue to approach this problem, which is more than a medical crisis or a public health threat, in a thoughtful and bipartisan manner.