December 16, 2013
In a post in the Huffington Post's "Impact" blog, Michel Kazatchkine, the U.N. secretary general's special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, reflects on Nelson Mandela's role in the global AIDS response. He recounts Mandela's attendance at the July 2003 International Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Paris, writing, "We all admired the great statesman, a man whose political vision was strongly and undefeatably based on a confidence in a long-term future that went beyond any short-term concerns." He continues, "The following years, despite the many and enormous challenges the world faced in rolling out antiretroviral treatment to those who most needed it, would prove to us all that those confident in the future were indeed right." Kazatchkine continues, "Today, 10 million people are accessing AIDS treatment which represents over sixty percent of all those in most urgent need of therapy and the number of new infections and AIDS-related mortality have decreased by 25 percent in the last five years." He concludes, "What appeared to be utopian 10 years ago is now a reachable target. Mandela would undoubtedly approve" (12/15).