The Obama administration marked the upcoming World AIDS Day by releasing plans for combating and defeating AIDS around the world.
During an appearance at the State Department this morning, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled a strategy titled "The President"s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation."
The 54-page blueprint comes two days before World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, and envisions a world where virtually no children are born with HIV. Although Clinton warned that HIV infections may continue, AIDS need not.
"Now, make no mistake about it: HIV may well be with us into the future. But the disease that it causes need not be," Clinton said. "We can reach a point where virtually no children are born with the virus, and as these children become teenagers and adults, they are at a far lower risk of becoming infected than they are today. And if they do acquire HIV, they have access to treatment that helps prevent them not only from developing AIDS, but from passing the virus on to others."
According to a State Department release, PEPFAR based its blueprint on the following principles:
- Make strategic, scientifically sound investments to rapidly scale-up core HIV prevention, treatment and care interventions and maximize impact.
- Work with partner countries, donor nations, civil society, people living with HIV, faith-based organizations, the private sector, foundations and multilateral institutions to effectively mobilize, coordinate and efficiently utilize resources to expand high-impact strategies, saving more lives sooner.
- Focus on women and girls to increase gender equality in HIV services.
- End stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and key populations, improving their access to, and uptake of, comprehensive HIV services.
- Set benchmarks for outcomes and programmatic efficiencies through regularly assessed planning and reporting processes to ensure goals are being met.
The release comes a year after Clinton said in November 2011 that an end to AIDS was in sight. During her remarks today, Clinton said the blueprint laid out a strategy for future American leaders to build on and encouraged other countries to draft their own plans.
"I urge other countries to develop their own blueprints," Clinton said, "because to reach and AIDS-free generation, we have to keep moving forward."
PEPFAR was first established as a $15 billion commitment to fighting AIDS over five years made by former President George W. Bush that has continued under President Barack Obama.
In a statement released by the White House, Obama marked World AIDS Day by noting strides made domestically are around the world.
According to Obama, 5 million people are being treated for AIDS today, which is up from 1.7 million in 2008. By the end 2013, 6 million people are expected to be undergoing treatment. Moreover, 700,000 HIV-positive pregnant women have been treated with antiretroviral drugs to prevent them from passing the virus to their children.
"Here in the United States we are implementing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy and concentrating our efforts in communities where HIV rates are highest, including among gay men, Latinos, and African Americans," Obama stated, adding that investments continue to be made in HIV prevention and care.
"As we continue this important work with our partners around the world and here at home, let us remember the lives we have lost to AIDS, celebrate the progress we have made, and, together, recommit to ourselves to achieving our shared vision of an AIDS-free generation," Obama said.
READ the full PEPFAR blueprint here: