A note from the AIDS.gov team: Yesterday morning, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton affirmed the U.S. government’s commitment towards an AIDS-free generation. This historic announcement echoes the three goals of the United States’ National HIV/AIDS Strategy: (1) to reduce the number of people who become infected with HIV, (2) to increase access to care and optimize health outcomes for people living with HIV, and (3) to reduce HIV-related health disparities. Together, we are all part of the global movement to drive down the worldwide rate of new HIV infections.
On November 8, 2011, Secretary Clinton delivered remarks on the future of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Washington, D.C.
During her remarks, Secretary Clinton announced that Ellen DeGeneres has been named as a Special Envoy for Global Aids Awareness. In this role, Ms. DeGeneres will use her celebrity platform to raise awareness about the global fight against AIDS. Through “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Ms. DeGeneres reaches millions of people every day, including 8 million followers on Twitter and 5.8 million Facebook fans.
Secretary Clinton outlined a vision for turning the tide on HIV/AIDS, drawing on the 30 years of U.S. leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS and recent scientific advances, while calling on the world to join the United States in working to achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation.
Secretary Clinton said, “From its earliest days, the fight against HIV/AIDS has been a global effort. But in the story of this fight, America’s name comes up time and again. In the past few weeks, I’ve spoken about various aspects of American leadership, from creating economic opportunity to preserving peace and standing up for democracy and freedom. Well, our efforts in global health are another strong pillar in our leadership. Our efforts advance our national interests. They help make other countries more stable and the United States more secure. And they are an expression of our values — of who we are as a people. And they generate enormous goodwill.
“At a time when people are raising questions about America’s role in the world, our leadership in global health reminds them who we are and what we do, that we are the nation that has done more than any other country in history to save the lives of millions of people beyond our borders.”
Secretary Clinton continued, “What’s more, our efforts have helped set the stage for a historic opportunity, one that the world has today: to change the course of this pandemic and usher in an AIDS-free generation.
“Now, by an AIDS-free generation, I mean one 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.
“Now, HIV may be with us well into the future. But the disease that it causes need not be. This is, I admit, an ambitious goal, and I recognize I am not the first person to envision it. But creating an AIDS-free generation has never been a policy priority for the United States Government until today, because this goal would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. Yet today, it is possible because of scientific advances largely funded by the United States and new practices put in place by this Administration and our many partners. Now while the finish line is not yet in sight, we know we can get there, because now we know the route we need to take. It requires all of us to put a variety of scientifically proven prevention tools to work in concert with each other. Just as doctors talk about combination treatment — prescribing more than one drug at a time — we all must step up our use of combination prevention.”
Secretary Clinton concluded, “The goal of an AIDS-free generation may be ambitious, but it is possible with the knowledge and interventions we have right now. And that is something we’ve never been able to say without qualification before. Imagine what the world will look like when we succeed. Imagine AIDS wards that once were stretched far beyond their capacity becoming outpatient clinics caring for people with a manageable condition, children who might have been orphaned and then trafficked or recruited as child soldiers instead growing up with the hope of a better future, communities where despair once reigned filled instead with optimism, countries that can make the most of every single person’s God-given potential. That is the world that has always been at the core of American belief, and we have worked toward it in our own history. It’s the world I think we all would like to live in. An AIDS-free generation would be one of the greatest gifts the United States could give to our collective future.”
Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and across the government, the United States is using science to guide policies, strengthen programs on the ground, and maximize the impact of U.S. efforts.
You can read the full text of the Secretary’s remarks here.