A few hours ago, Secretary Hillary Clinton gave a fantastic speech about “A vision for the next steps in the fight against HIV/AIDS” at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.
If you’d like to see a transcript of her speech, you can find it here:
Clinton called on the world to push efforts toward a goal: the birth of an AIDS-free generation.
By an “AIDS-free generation”, she is speaking of a time where “first, virtually no children are born with the virus; second, as these children become teenagers and adults, they are at far lower risk of becoming infected than they would be today thanks to a wide range of prevention tools; and third, if they do acquire HIV, they have access to treatment that helps prevent them from developing AIDS and passing the virus on to others.”.
She goes on to speak about the three key prevention techniques in order to make that goal possible. First off, putting an end of mother-to-child AIDS transmission. Currently, 1 in 7 new cases of AIDs come from the victim’s parents. “We can get that number to zero,” Clinton says.
Second, voluntary medical male circumcision would reduce the risk of transmission by up to 60%. Clinton stated that this, along with prevention of mother-to-child disease, would be the most cost efficient.
Third, treating a person living with HIV with the right medication reduces the risk of transferring AIDS/HIV to a partner up to 96%. Clinton goes on to speak about ways to cut costs and still make sure that everyone receives the medication they need.
“Now let me be clear: None of the interventions I’ve described can create an AIDS-free generation by itself. But used in combination with each other and with other powerful prevention methods, they do present an extraordinary opportunity.“
She is calling on other nations to do their part, and to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Clinton also asks to put more emphasis on each country’s ownership on their HIV/AIDS programs. Using the United States as an example, she states that it is a priority. “This is a priority for the United States. We know we can’t create an AIDS-free generation by dictating solutions from Washington. Our in-country partners – including governments, NGOs, and faith-based organizations – need to own and lead their nation’s response.“
Clinton also named Ellen DeGeneres as their new Special Envoy for Global AIDS awareness.
“And Ellen is going to bring not only her sharp wit and her big heart, but her impressive TV audience and more than 8 million followers on Twitter, to raise awareness and support for this effort. I know we can look forward to many contributions from Ellen and her loyal fans across the globe.“
“Let’s not stop now. Let’s keep focused on the future. And one of those futures that I hope we can be part of achieving is an AIDS-free generation. Thank you all very much.“