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U.S. News

White House Marks World AIDS Day

December 2, 2010

Commemorating World AIDS Day on Wednesday President Barack Obama called for continuing to fight HIV/AIDS domestically and abroad, Agence France-Presse reports (12/1).

"At a time when so many men and women are living with HIV and AIDS every day, let's also recommit ourselves to build on the tremendous progress we've made both in preventing and treating the disease and ending the stigma and discrimination that too often surround it," Obama said in a video shown at a White House event to mark the occasion, CQ HealthBeat reports. "It is my hope that together we can move closer to the day when we eliminate this disease from the face of the earth," Obama said.

Addressing event attendees, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Anthony Fauci said, "I totally believe that we will be able to cure HIV in a subset of individuals." CQ HealthBeat continues: "He said the subset he is referring to is those who get into treatment early enough so that they don't have an 'enormous HIV reservoir that you are going to have to get rid of'" (Bunis, 12/1).

"We have saved millions of lives from AIDS over the past decade. By investing in what we know works, we can save millions more in the future," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement marking World AIDS Day, the AFP reports (12/1). Clinton also said in the statement: "The Obama administration has made the fight against AIDS central to the Global Health Initiative, our commitment to strengthening global health systems and implementing sustainable solutions to improve the health of entire communities. One major focus of the Global Health Initiative is strengthening our partnerships around the world so they reflect and reinforce the global effort needed to defeat AIDS" (12/1).

PEPFAR on Wednesday released updated results from its programs, according to a State Department press release. "[T]he U.S. is directly supporting life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 3.2 million men, women and children worldwide as of September 30, 2010, up from less than 2.5 million in 2009. In the coming years, the U.S. has committed to directly support more than four million people on treatment, more than doubling the number of people directly supported on treatment during the first five years of PEPFAR," the release states.

The release also noted the U.S. commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: "Of the estimated 5.2 million individuals in low- and middle-income countries who currently receive treatment, nearly 4.7 million receive support through PEPFAR bilateral programs, the Global Fund, or both. The U.S. is the first and largest donor to the Global Fund, having provided more than $5.1 billion to date and announced an historic multi-year pledge of $4 billion for 2011-2013, a 38 percent increase in U.S. support" (12/1).

CQ HealthBeat also quotes statements from former President George W. Bush's Washington Post opinion piece calling on Congress to maintain its commitment to AIDS funding, which appeared in the newspaper Wednesday (12/1). AFP notes President Bill Clinton's appeal Wednesday in an opinion piece in the Independent Wednesday for efforts to be made to find ways to fill gaps in funding for global HIV/AIDS programs and "save more lives with the money we do have" (12/1).

Talk Radio News Service notes several ways to reduce costs in global HIV/AIDS programs supported by the U.S., as described by U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby. "He says small changes like switching the distribution systems from air to ground transport or cooperating with the FDA to increase the amount of affordable generic drugs available have freed up millions of dollars that can now be better used to carry out hands-on high impact interventions, such as an aggressive prevention programs," the news service writes.

"Better understanding where the new seroconversions are and then positioning our prevention interventions in front of those expanding movements of the virus through that population is a central piece of every prevention strategy and at the core of all of our prevention programs," Goosby said, according to the news service (11/30).

Back to other news for December 2010

This information was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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