Today we pay tribute to the millions of lives lost and families affected by HIV/AIDS. We also recognize the brave individuals living with HIV who carry the burden of this disease every day. It is in their honor that we remain steadfast in our pursuit of an AIDS-free generation.
President Obama’s announcement today of the goal to provide lifesaving antiretroviral treatment to 6 million people living with HIV worldwide represents a critical step towards this goal. Since AIDS was identified 30 years ago, we have made significant progress, saving and improving the lives of millions of people around the world. Remarkable scientific breakthroughs in preventing and managing this disease have given us the tools for even greater action. Through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s Global Health Initiative, we are working to translate these advances into lifesaving programs.
This vision of an AIDS-free generation can only be realized by working together. Partner governments, civil society, the private sector and multilateral organizations like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria must collaborate and share best practices. We must engage the world’s brightest scientists, advocates, and public health experts to find more effective ways to fight HIV. High-impact interventions like antiretroviral treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and voluntary medical male circumcision have the potential to move us toward the end of this epidemic.
We have come a long way in the fight against AIDS, but there is still a long road ahead to realize our ambitious goals. If we continue to work together and coordinate a global effort guided by science, we may one day live in a AIDS-free generation.