A number of government leaders made statements on Thursday in recognition of World AIDS Day. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a press statement said, “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 an AIDS-free generation” (12/1). In a post on the White House Blog, Gayle Smith, special assistant to the President, and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby write, “As President Obama made clear, the fight against global AIDS is a shared responsibility, not one the U.S. can meet alone. â€¦ As we move forward, we will work with a growing number of partners as the global community joins the U.S. in a heightened focus on this fight” (12/1).
Programs, Funding & Financing
Speaking at the ONE campaign and (RED)’s “Beginning of the End of AIDS” event at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., to mark World AIDS Day on Thursday, “President Obama … announced a deepened U.S. commitment to fighting the pandemic, declaring ‘make no mistake, we are going to win this fight,'” ABC News reports (Bruce, 12/1). Obama said his administration is “setting a goal of providing antiretroviral [ARV] drugs to more than 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women over the next two years” to help prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, and “setting a new target of helping six million people get [ARV] treatment by the end of 2013,” two million more people than the original goal, according to the speech transcript (12/1). A White House fact sheet adds PEPFAR will support more than 4.7 million voluntary medical male circumcisions in Eastern and Southern Africa and the U.S. will distribute more than one billion condoms worldwide over the next two years. The fact sheet notes PEPFAR’s “continued focus on lowering costs and finding efficiencies will allow us to achieve these ambitious targets with existing resources” (12/1).
The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria decided to cancel Round 11 grant approval during a two-day meeting in Accra, Ghana, that concluded on November 22, according to a Global Fund press release (11/23). The following opinion pieces address this action.
President Barack Obama on Thursday renewed the U.S. commitment to ending HIV/AIDS in a speech marking World AIDS Day, and was joined by former presidents Bill Clinton, who participated by video, and George W. Bush, who spoke from Tanzania with that country’s President, Jakaya Kikwete, the Independent reports (Popham, 12/1). According to the Associated Press, Obama announced U.S. “goal[s] of getting antiretroviral drugs to two million more people around the world by the end of 2013,” bringing the total to six million people, and “to 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent them from passing the virus to their children.” The news agency continues, “Despite Obama’s more ambitious goals,” which build on existing PEPFAR programs, “the plan’s budget is not expected to increase. Instead, officials said the expanded targets would be funded through savings achieved by making the program more efficient and cutting the costs of treatment” (Pace, 12/1).
U.N. Progress Report On AIDS Stresses Advances In Treatment, Prevention, Warns About Declining Funding
“Global progress in both preventing and treating HIV emphasizes the benefits of sustaining investment in HIV/AIDS over the longer term,” according to a new report from the WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS, which also “indicates that increased access to HIV services resulted in a 15 percent reduction of new infections over the past decade and a 22 percent decline in AIDS-related deaths in the last five years,” a WHO press release reports (11/30). The report, titled “Progress report 2011: Global HIV/AIDS response,” notes that “[a]s capacity at all levels increases, programs are becoming more effective and efficient,” but “financial pressures on both domestic and foreign assistance budgets are threatening the impressive progress to date. Recent data indicating that HIV funding is declining is a deeply troubling trend that must be reversed for the international community to meet its commitments on HIV” (11/30).
GlobalPost examines the “collision of scientific advances vs. economic realities” in the fight against HIV/AIDS in a special report as part of its “Healing the World” series. “Thirty years after the discovery of AIDS, scientists believe for the first time that they now have the tools to beat back the deadly virus. … But the gloomy global economic situation, and recent scale-backs in HIV funding around the world, have cast great doubt as to whether policymakers will take advantage of the combination of new prevention tools to fight AIDS,” the article states, noting that “President Obama is expected on Thursday — World AIDS Day — to talk about his administration’s next steps on AIDS, … his first major speech on AIDS as president” (Donnelly, 11/30).
In his ForeignPolicy.com column, Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, writes that despite an “abundance of tools to fight the global AIDS epidemic,” including male circumcision and treatment as prevention, “the breakthroughs don’t amount to a global reprieve.” The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s announcement it is postponing Round 11 grants, “on top of news that donor funding for HIV/AIDS leveled in 2009 and then declined 10 percent in 2010, should be a wake-up call to focus on cost-effective responses,” he writes.
In this post on the Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy” blog, Jenny Ottenhoff, policy outreach associate at the Center, examines the prospects for U.S. spending on global AIDS programs. She writes “it seems we have reached a ‘tipping point’ where the science, technology and know-how are available to…
Christian Lienhardt of the Stop TB Partnership and colleagues examine the research necessary to stop tuberculosis (TB) and introduce the TB Research Movement, which aims to “boos[t] TB research and accelerat[e] progress in TB control towards international targets,” in this PLoS Medicine article. The authors “describe the development of the Research Movement…
Speaking at the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF 4) in Busan, South Korea, “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that programs to help the world’s poor should be treated as national security priorities as economic turmoil leaves millions struggling to find work and food,” the Associated Press reports, adding, “Clinton, the first American secretary of state to participate in such an aid conference, said in a speech that development is as important as diplomacy and defense in creating a more peaceful world.” Clinton also made remarks at the forum’s Special Session on Gender, and the State Department provides a fact sheet related to her remarks. Inter Press Service examines how, as the HLF 4 “takes shape in Busan, one question is if women and children in Africa can expect any tangible results from the conference” (11/29).