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Looking to AIDS 2012: Turning the Tide Together

Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Ambassador at Large

Ambassador Eric Goosby

For the first time in over 20 years, the biannual International AIDS Conference will be hosted on American soil. From July 22-27, AIDS 2012 will convene scientists, health professionals, policy makers and those affected by AIDS in Washington, D.C. to assess progress to date and identify next steps in the global response.

The conference theme, Turning the Tide Together, underscores the pivotal moment in which AIDS 2012 is taking place. Recent scientific advances in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention, coupled with continued progress in scaling up key interventions in developing countries, have led to renewed hope and optimism across the globe.

In November 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the United States’ goal of creating an AIDS-free generation. President Barack Obama put this commitment into action on World AIDS Day with a plan to expand U.S. support for treatment to 6 million people globally.

Since AIDS was identified 30 years ago, the U.S. has played a leading role in achieving scientific progress, and in translating science into programs. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with bipartisan support from Congress and a strong commitment by President Obama, has put that science into action to save the lives of millions in the developing world. It is truly an honor to be leading PEPFAR and working closely with our implementing agencies — including the US Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense and Peace Corps — to reach millions across the globe.

Evidence-based science is driving our efforts. The United States is supporting a combination of high-impact strategies that are changing the course of the epidemic. These include efforts to keep newborn children from being infected with HIV, voluntary male medical circumcision, and expanded access to antiretroviral treatment to save lives and prevent new exposure to HIV. When used in combination with each other, condoms, behavioural efforts, and other prevention tools, these interventions offer an historic opportunity to drive down the worldwide rate of new infections. Our latest results show that this is continuing to work.

In 2011, PEPFAR supported antiretroviral treatment for more than 3.9 million people. PEPFAR programs supported HIV counseling for 40 million people, and care for 13 million people, including 4.1 million orphans and vulnerable children. Last year alone, PEPFAR tested over 9 million pregnant women for HIV, reaching over 660,000 HIV-positive mothers with services to keep them alive and prevent transmission to their children. As a result, 200,000 babies were born free of HIV.

AIDS 2012 will be an opportunity to look back at the progress we have made and consider where the science will lead us to next. The conference will also be a critical venue to increase the global response to this shared responsibility, including through the Global Fund. The President has made it clear that continued strong leadership from the United States, along with heightened commitment by other partners, will allow us to seize the opportunity for dramatic progress toward an AIDS-free generation.

Comments

  1. Ambassador Goosby,
    Thank you for your leadership in this effort. UPS provides logistics support through Supply Chain Management Systems, which is funded through PEPFAR. We’ve been able to save tens of millions of dollars in transportation and procurement cost due to our logistics processes. We are also working with Andrew Clark at Strategic Aid Partners in hopes that their approved grant will be funded, to expand the work in saving lives. If you or anyone on your staff would like to know more, please let me know.

    On a personal note, I graduated from SI in 1979 and you bear a striking resemblance to Kevin, who happens to have the same last name – I assume your brother. Go Cats!
    Best Regards, Chip Meyers – VP UPS Corporate Public Affairs 202-675-3348

  2. Angie Hendrickson says:

    Dear Ambassador Goosby,
    It is very heartening to see the many accomplishemnts across the globe and in developing countries. However, I am deeply concerned that HIV has quite literally been forgotten about here in the U.S., especially in rural regions of the country where there are huge, gaping holes and disparities in every aspect of education, prevention, services, outreach, etc. As you should be aware, because we have previously met and corresponded, I raised a child in with HIV (hemophilia-related) for almost two decades in rural central Wisconsin and it was always a challenge to get much help. I am now living in northern Wisconsin where there is a big problem with herion and meth usage. I spoke at the Mole Lake Lodge and Convention Center for World AIDS Day 2011 and the local news, WJFW Channel 12 from Rhinelander, covered the event. They polled online veiwers with this question: “Do you think there is enough education in the northwoods about HIV?” 69% of those who responded said, “NO”. Now, the Wisconsin legislature is attempting to overturn mandatory sex education and return to abstinence only programs in our public schools. As a mother of a child who died of AIDS and a public speaker, it has been my experience that too many people out here in rural regions are completely lacking in any understanding of everything related to HIV and I believe it is imperative that we do so much more to reach and teach these people. The people in rural areas, especially here and where I used to live, are not insolated from the world because it is a tourism based economy and people come here from all over the country and the world. I keep telling everyone, some of them are not just bringing their money!!!! I am also deeply troubled by what some doctors have been telling HIV+ people here in the U.S. about “low viral loads”. On one hand, yes, it is a good thing that those with a low viral load have little chance of spreading HIV to their partners but I think it is fool’s advice for these people to go out and have unprotected sex because doctors are telling them this. Viral loads can fluctuate rapidly and this is some very risky business with other people’s health and well-being. Then, there is the double-edged sword this could create in regards to the current climate of criminalization of those who know they are HIV+ and infect someone else because they were led to believe they would not infect another. If there are doctors are telling them it’s okay to have unprotected sex when they have a low viral load and they infect someone, they could go to prison! Also, I would like to say that because of my involvement with blood safety issues because of my life with the bleeding disorders community, I also have many concerns about the rise in people having to resort to selling their plasma for money to pay their bills again. These plasma facilities are popping up everywhere and as history has already proven, paid “donors” are inherently risky to the safety of the products made from pooled plasma and many are “recruiting” from some of our most high risk individuals in this country: sexually active young people, many who still don’t think HIV can happen to them and don’t take precautions. Yes, I know everything is tested but tests can fail and things can go wrong. There is also the issue of new emerging bloodborne pathogens that there are no current test or viral inactivation methods for yet. The parasite, babesiosis, immediately comes to mind….ne reason I am mentioning this is because of what I have learned about PIDD. WOW. 1 in 500 children affected and they are treating many of those kids with plasma products. I have ALOT of QUESTIONS about that one: PIDD!!!! Sounds like pediatric HIV to me….WOW again. Anyway, thanks for giving me a chance to have a voice!!! Warmest and best wishes to everyone! Angie hendrickson, mother of Brandon 6/02/83-6/03/02 hemophilia-related HIV, HCV, etc…..RIP my son.

  3. Angie Hendrickson says:

    Another thing not being addressed enough in THIS country is older adults/seniors and HIV. YIPES. There are alot of very sexually active people in these age groups who do not even THINK about their potential risk for contracting HIV. I care very much about people in other countries but I also think we are NOT doing ENOUGH anymore right here in the U.S.A. nobody is talking about HIV in this country anymore….stcking this celebrity or that celebrity on the news to honor them for holding this fundraiser or that fundraiser is not enough. WE NEED TO START TALKING ABOUT THE FACTS AGAIN. Too many people think the HIV/AIDS epideimic is over in THIS country because they never hear anything about anything in THIS country!!!! I have people tell me this all the time. And, too many people who are working in HIV prevention and educating are spending too much time and resources “preaching to the chior”. We need to get out into our communities and teach/reach those we haven’t!!!!! Too many people have lost the mission and the vision here….Just saying!

  4. I am excited about the AIDS 2012 conference. It will be my first time provided a hub for the conference. My application just got approved and looking forward to doing my little part on helping with hiv/aids awareness especially when it comes to peer support being that I am positive myself. I will be streaming into Second Life and hopefully will be able to get Miguel and Michelle back in.

    Also if any hiv/aids organization is looking for any help with social media efforts feel free to contact me I would love to help wether it be volunterring or part time paid position. I welcome either choice. dyverse.in.sl@gmail.com

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