August 9, 2012
On Wednesday in Cape Town, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed a new agreement to support South Africa's AIDS-fighting efforts, but she stressed this does not mean "that the US is bowing out" of the country. "Let me say this clearly: The US is not going anywhere," Clinton said. "The partnership is changing for the better. Our goal is no new patients -- zero." The agreement spotlights South Africa's progress from the past -- when former President Thabo Mbeki denied the scientific evidence that HIV causes AIDS -- to the present, when the nation is running the world's largest AIDS treatment program. More than 1.3 million South Africans now receive AIDS drugs, and the infection rate for babies born to HIV-positive mothers has fallen from 8 percent in 2008 to 2.7 percent in 2011. Clinton noted, however, "Even as we take a moment to say 'well done,' we cannot make the mistake of thinking that our job is done. The disease is still very dangerous."