Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic


July 23, 1987


The President is announcing today his intention to appoint the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic, the AIDS commission. The Commission's 13 members are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and points of view. They bring together expertise in scientific investigation, medical care and its costs, public health, private research, and both State and National Government, as well as in fields that deal with the many issues of ethics, law, and behavior involved in the AIDS epidemic.


The Commission will consist of the following individuals:


William Eugene Mayberry, Chairman


Colleen Conway-Welch


John J. Creedon


Theresa L. Crenshaw


Richard M. DeVos


Burton James Lee III


Frank Lilly


Woodrow A. Myers, Jr.


John Cardinal O'Connor


Penny Pullen


Cory SerVaas


William B. Walsh


Admiral James D. Watkins (Ret.)


The primary focus of the Commission will be to recommend measures that Federal, State, and local officials can take to stop the spread of AIDS, to assist in research aimed at finding a cure for AIDS, and to better care for those who have the disease. In the course of its work, the Commission will:


 -- review current efforts at AIDS education;


 -- examine what is being done at all levels of government and outside of government to combat the spread of AIDS;


 -- examine the impact of the needs of AIDS patients in years to come on health care in the United States;


 -- review the history of dealing with communicable disease epidemics in the United States;


 -- evaluate current research relating to the prevention and treatment of AIDS;


 -- identify areas for future research;


 -- examine policies for development and release of drugs and vaccines to combat AIDS;


 -- assess the extent to which AIDS has spread both among specific risk groups and the population as a whole;


 -- study the legal and ethical issues relating to AIDS;


 -- review the role of the United States in the international battle against AIDS.


The Commission will proceed under the leadership of Dr. Eugene Mayberry, the chief executive officer of the Mayo Clinic. The President has asked Dr. Mayberry to move quickly, and the Commission will deliver its first report to the President within 90 days. It will produce a final report within a year. The President believes that the spread of AIDS is a cause of deep concern, but not panic. If Americans work together with common sense and common purpose, the President believes we will, in the end, defeat this common threat.