Last week, I was proud to participate in a significant moment in the global AIDS response. I stood with leaders of the private sector at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as they committed to join forces to reach an ambitious, yet achievable, goal — ending pediatric AIDS by 2015.
The launch of two groundbreaking initiatives — the Business Leadership Council and the Social Media Syndicate — will marshal the power of the private sector, converging business acumen, technology, and other assets to support country-led efforts to prevent new infant infections and save mothers’ lives.
This exceptional commitment by the private sector stems from the Global Plan towards the Elimination of New Pediatric Infections and Keeping Mothers Alive, launched last year by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and UNAIDS. The Plan’s central goal is to reduce the number of new pediatric infections by 90 percent by 2015 in the 22 countries carrying 90 percent of the global burden of vertical transmission. The science is clear — achieving a generation born HIV-free is possible. It is a smart investment that will save lives and pay dividends in many of the world’s emerging economies.
I am proud to note that in 2011 alone, PEPFAR tested nearly 10 million pregnant women. Of these, more than 660,000 pregnant women were found to be living with HIV, and antiretrovirals (ARVs) for these women allowed more than 200,000 infants to be born HIV-free. These are the highest results of any year in PEPFAR’s eight-year history.
Everyone has a role to play. By working together with the private sector, we will enhance our collective impact. Leaders in business and the media have unique core competencies that only they can bring to this effort. I commend these business and media leaders for their commitment and partnership. I also encourage other companies to join this effort, and hope that other sectors will similarly pledge to do more, and do it smarter.
As we have learned from 30 years of struggle, extraordinary things happen when we work together. By uniting around our common humanity and our shared responsibility, we can change, not just the course of the epidemic, but the course of history for families and communities around the world.
Ambassador Eric Goosby serves as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator, leading all U.S. Government international HIV/AIDS efforts. In this role, Ambassador Goosby oversees implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), as well as U.S. Government engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.