FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On World AIDS Day, we honor those who are living with HIV/AIDS and remember those who have been lost. In their honor, I join President Obama in reaffirming America’s commitment to leading the global fight against this deadly disease.
December ends a decade that will be remembered for unprecedented American investments in HIV prevention, treatment and care services. In 2003, President Bush launched the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest investment by any nation to combat a single disease. More than five million people in low- and middle-income countries are on HIV treatment, more than half thanks to PEPFAR. These programs have made it possible for more than 340,000 babies to be born free of HIV.
Building on the success of PEPFAR and other global health programs, President Obama’s Global Health Initiative prioritizes strong and sound investments. This year, for example, the Administration pledged $4 billion in 2011-13 for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a 38% increase in U.S. support. But we will ultimately measure our success in terms of the outcomes we achieve rather than the dollars we spend. We are guided by the need to innovate, to work together with grass-roots and private-sector partners as well as recipient countries, and to craft comprehensive, sustainable approaches to treatment. Experience in the field has taught us how to use our money more wisely, maximizing our buying power with effective, generic antiretroviral drugs and quicker, less costly delivery methods. These smarter investments will allow us to save more lives.
President Obama’s commitment to battling the scourge of AIDS arises from both American values and American interests. In a world in which development, public health, and security are deeply linked, we must learn from the successes of HIV/AIDS treatment in the first decade of the 21st century – and never forget those who have suffered from this horrible disease – if we are to achieve a more secure, more peaceful and more prosperous world.
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