President Joe Biden on Saturday released a statement recognizing the 40th year of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Saturday was the 40th anniversary of the first documented AIDS cases. In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) described the first five known cases of what would later be known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and is today known as HIV Stage III.

More than 32 million people have died from HIV worldwide and 38 million people are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

“On the 40th year of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we remember the lives that were cut short by this terrible disease – including so many whose pain went unacknowledged for far too long,” Biden said. “We also celebrate the resilience and dignity of the over 38 million people worldwide, including approximately 1.2 million Americans, living with HIV.”

During an appearance Saturday on the PBS NewsHour, Dr. Chris Beyner, professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that there are “parts of the world where the virus is in expansion mode.”

The epidemic in the United States “is very concentrated in [the] south and southeast, among racial and ethnic minorities, in particular African Americans, Latinx Americans. And in sexual and gender minorities, too. Two-thirds of our infections are in gay and bisexual men, primarily men of color,” Beyner said.

Biden acknowledged that while we have effective therapies, work remains to end the epidemic.

“Despite the progress we’ve made, our work is not yet finished. In honor of all those we have lost and all those living with the virus – and the selfless caregivers, advocates, and loved ones who have helped carry the burden of this crisis – we must rededicate ourselves to reducing HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths,” Biden said. “We must continue empowering researchers, scientists, and health care providers to ensure equitable access to prevention, care, and treatment in every community – particularly for communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community. And we must provide moral leadership to eradicate the stigma and discrimination still faced by those living with HIV, rededicating ourselves to continuing the vital work of ending this epidemic once and for all.”