July 30, 2012
Former President Bill Clinton rallied activists to press on and not give up as he delivered closing remarks Friday at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington.
"You should be really excited by this moment," Clinton said. "We will do well as long as we refuse to let what we don't have slow us down." Eight million people are now receiving HIV drugs, and the ability exists to treat millions more, he said.
Clinton launched the Clinton Health Access Initiative in 2002 to help address HIV/AIDS in the developing world. On Friday, CHAI reported on a study showing that HIV treatment costs in four African countries have dropped to about $200 per patient per year -- a figure that includes expenses for testing, drugs, and health care staff. These results indicate that universal access to high-quality HIV treatment is "achievable, sustainable, and within our means," the former president said.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Whoopi Goldberg warned of the global threat of TB, particularly for those co-infected with HIV. "To end AIDS, we have to join together to tackle TB and HIV as one disease," she said.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House minority leader, warned that it is a "false economy" to cut AIDS funding because "it costs us more in the future." She said she will fight to maintain AIDS resources, and she added that the U.S. Affordable Care Act will provide significant protection to those living with HIV.