||joya banerjee [ profile ]
Fwd: MC promoted as Hillary Clinton calls for 'AIDS-free generation'
Nov 9th, 2011 - 22:03:48
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brian Morris
Hillary Clinton calls for 'AIDS-free generation'
By Rob Stein, Published: November 9
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday called on the
world to create the first "AIDS-free generation" by using antiviral
drugs, condoms, circumcision and other approaches to stem the spread
In a highly promoted speech at the National Institutes of Health,
Clinton said scientific advances led by the United States have
provided the tools to minimize the spread of the deadly virus.
"We have a chance to give countless lives and futures to millions of
people who are alive today but equally, if not profoundly more
importantly, to an entire new generation yet to be born," Clinton
"The goal of an AIDS-free generation is ambitious, but it is
possible," she said. "An AIDS-free generation would be one of the
greatest gifts the United States could give to our collective future."
The speech was hailed by public health advocates.
"It's very encouraging to see the U.S. government wanting to turn the
latest HIV/AIDS science into policies that will save lives while
beginning to reverse the epidemic," said Unni Karunakara of Doctors
Without Borders. "Now is the time for bold action in order to get
ahead of the wave of new HIV infections."
Since the deadly pandemic began 30 years ago, more than 60 million
people have been infected with HIV worldwide and more than 30 million
have died. An estimated 34 million people are living with the virus.
About 2.6 million people get infected each year, but the numbers of
infections and deaths have been falling.
In addition to older approaches such as condo^m use and the
distribution of clean needles to drug addicts, recent research has
shown that antiviral drugs can prevent infected pregnant women and
nursing mothers from spreading the virus to their children. Last year
alone, more than 114,000 mother-to-child transmissions were prevented,
"Today, one in seven new infections occurs when a mother passes the
virus to a child," Clinton said. "We can get that number to zero."
The development of an effective vaccine against HIV remains one of the
most frustratingly elusive goals in medicine. But recent studies have
shown that male circumcision can reduce the risk that heterosexual men
will spread the virus by 60 percent. More than 1 million men have been
voluntarily circumcised worldwide since 2007, Clinton said.
Antiviral drugs have been shown capable of protecting men having sex
with other men and of protecting the heterosexual partners of infected
"We now know if you treat a person living with HIV effectively, you
reduce the risk of transmission to a partner by 96 percent," she said.
Taken together, mathematical models show that these strategies could
significantly reduce the spread of the virus by another 40 percent to
60 percent, she said.
"We will be on a path towards an AIDS-free generation," Clinton said,
noting that the U.S. government would commit an additional $60 million
to scale up efforts in four sub-Saharan countries and challenging
others to join the effort.
In June, the U.N. General Assembly called for providing prevention
treatment and care to 15 million people in low- and moderate-income
countries by 2015. Only about 6 million are currently receiving the
Experts estimate the cost to be as much as $26 billion annually by
2015 and perhaps $35 billion a year by 2031. About $16 billion a year
is being spent on such AIDS prevention now. But the amount of spending
has been dropping worldwide.
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, created by President
George W. Bush in 2003 and expanded by President Obama, spent $6.7
billion last year on AIDS treatment and prevention. The Global Fund to
Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a free-standing institution in
Geneva that gets money from rich countries, spent $1.6 billion.
The key to bringing treatment to more people in the developing world
has been the sharp drop in the cost of antiviral drugs in the past 15
years, Clinton said. The cost of treating one person has dropped from
about $1,100 in 2004 to about $335 today, she said.
"In these difficult budget times, we have to remember that investing
in our future is the smartest investment we can make," she said.
Clinton also announced that television talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres
had been appointed as a special envoy for global AIDS awareness.