Secretary Clinton to AIDS 2012: "We Will Not Back Off, We Will Not Back Down"

Posted by Eric Goosby
July 25, 2012

I don't think it's an overstatement to say that Secretary Clinton electrified the AIDS 2012 audience with her keynote address yesterday. Her speech was a perfect combination of substance and inspiration, and the enthusiastic reception made it clear that she had hit all the right notes.

Last November, of course, she articulated the goal, made possible by recent scientific advances, of an AIDS-free generation. This laid the groundwork for Presiden Obama's pathbreaking announcement on World AIDS Day of ambitious new combination prevention goals for PEPFAR, including a 50 percent increase in our treatment goal, to 6 million by the end of fiscal year 2013.

One thing the Secretary did yesterday was update the world on PEPFAR's progress since then. We've dramatically increased the pace of treatment enrollment, reaching nearly 4.5 million with treatment through the first half of this fiscal year -- putting us on track to meet the 6 million goal on time. One of the other goals was to reach 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women with services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV -- and we're on target to achieve that as well, reaching 370,000 women in the first half of FY 2012. We've also performed 400,000 voluntary medical male circumcisions in that same time frame -- with an accelerating pace as countries come to understand what a cost-effective, smart investment it is. Looking to the future, Secretary Clinton announced that she has asked me to produce, by World AIDS Day this year, a blueprint for the next steps in America's contribution to an AIDS-free generation.

So there was plenty of substance. But there was also much to inspire. In words that resonated powerfully with the many attendees from developing countries, the Secretary spoke about the U.S. commitment to support country leadership in the response. She was forceful about ensuring that our programs meet the needs of those who face the highest risks, including men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and sex workers. The audience warmly welcomed her announcement of several new PEPFAR investments in work with these groups. And Secretary Clinton did not shy away from challenging the world by asserting that AIDS is a global, shared responsibility -- one that requires all nations, not only the United States, to step up, with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria an essential vehicle to do so.

Finally, the Secretary movingly described visiting the AIDS Quilt on the National Mall in 1996 with President Clinton. She pointed the way forward to the day "when we can stop adding names." I believe that after today, no one doubts America's commitment to that day when we celebrate an AIDS-free generation at last.



Maureen H.
California, USA
July 25, 2012

Maureen H. in California writes:

To care and appreciate other cultures, we need to be able to uphold our own unique identities. The openness also requires some restraint.

Maryland, USA
July 27, 2012

Patrick in Maryland writes:

I liked your speech.

It was very encouraging on the progress made.

I hope this AIDS-free day will be soon.

Have A Great Weekend....Eric,Hillary and

DipNote Guys... :)

sarah g.
Minnesota, USA
August 2, 2012

Sarah G. in Minnesota writes:

I was honored to witness Secretary Clinton's address at AIDS 2012. In the light of her forceful message of the US being responsive to those at highest risk such as sex workers, when will the US prostitution pledge be removed from PEPFAR? I have spent 15 years in public health. This policy promotes stigma and reduces public health interventions available to sex workers, which forces those at highest risk for HIV to be even more vulnerable to infection, violence, and substance use.

August 3, 2012

Leonid in the Ukraine writes:

Health wish!

I wish you the best!

It's very impressive.


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