Remarks by Terri Robl, U.S. Deputy Representative to ECOSOC, to the United Nations General Assembly, on Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the Political Declarations on HIV/AIDS, June 11, 2013

Teri Robl
U.S. Deputy Representative to ECOSOC 
New York, NY
June 11, 2013




AS DELIVERED

Mr. President, Distinguished delegates,

Ten years ago, AIDS was wiping out a generation of individuals across the world and reversing important health and development gains, especially those being made in Africa.

Hospitals were overwhelmed. Patients were not getting the antiretroviral treatment that was available. AIDS created millions of orphans, many of whom were unable to attend school without the support of a parent. AIDS threatened the very foundation of societies.

In response to this threat, in February 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush called for the creation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR. With bipartisan support from Congress, PEPFAR became the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease.

Under President Obama’s leadership, the United States has continued to strengthen commitment to PEPFAR, which this year marks its 10 year anniversary.

On November 29, 2012, the United States government released the PEPFAR Blueprint, which captures the experience and lessons learned over the last 10 years and provides a clear outline for how PEPFAR will work to help bring countries to—and beyond—the programmatic tipping point in their epidemics.

The United States is proud of the contribution that PEPFAR has made to the global AIDS fight, and we appreciate references made to the program by other delegations in their statements in this body.

What a difference a decade can make! Today, as a result of landmark scientific advances coupled with success in implementing effective programs, AIDS is no longer a certain death sentence.

Globally, over half of those eligible for treatment of HIV and AIDS are now accessing these life-saving medications. And, national HIV responses are more successful and sustainable.

Treatment efforts and a combination of other evidence-based prevention strategies have successfully dropped the rate of new HIV infections by more than half in 25 low-and-middle-income countries, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Through efforts aimed at HIV, countries have strengthened health systems, improved capacities around maternal health, immunization, and nutritional care, built and renovated child health clinics, and put laboratories in place that support providers as they make diagnoses and monitor care.

Together, by scaling up programs with urgency and commitment, the world has demonstrated what is possible with focus, resources, and science.

The impact of HIV investments over the last decade has been extraordinary, but we have not yet finished the job.

Many countries have not reached universal access to treatment for HIV and AIDS, and the progress made in halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV is encouraging, but tenuous. HIV remains the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age in low and middle income countries.

We have learned from history that if we do not finish what we start, disease will resurge and with greater virulence.

The United States remains committed to this global fight and will continue to support global efforts to ensure that the momentum to scale up HIV high impact prevention, treatment, and care interventions required to reach the MDG goals and to create an AIDS-free generation, is maintained and increased.

But, we can’t do it alone. Creating an AIDS-free Generation is a shared responsibility. We need the continued commitment and leadership of partner countries, reinforced with support from civil society, people living with HIV, faith- based organizations, the private sector, foundations, donor nations, and multilateral institutions.

To achieve sustainable health systems, we must work together with partner countries to advance their efforts to care for their own people.

The Global Fund is, and will remain, critical if we are to turn the tide against HIV, as well as TB and malaria.

Towards this end, the United States calls on all nations to support the achievement of the ambitious goals set forth in the Global Fund’s Fourth Replenishment cycle. President Obama’s FY 2014 budget of $1.65 billion for the Global Fund is a strong demonstration of our support, and we challenge other donors to increase their contributions.

This replenishment comes at a critical turning point for the Global Fund and for the global fight against these diseases. Our shared investments in programming and science over the past decade have lead us to the current situation where we are within reach of the tipping point of changing the course of these diseases, especially in reducing HIV incidence.

The U.S. government is particularly pleased with the Global Fund’s progress in undertaking needed reforms. We are excited by the potential of the new funding model to maximize the impact of contributions to the Global Fund, and we appreciate the technical support provided by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

It is imperative that together we commit, maintain, and increase both the momentum and focus on HIV as one of the measurable components for global health goals beyond 2015.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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PRN: 2013/094