Friday, July 27, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. would be contributing an additional $157 million to the fight against HIV-AIDS, even as a constellation of celebrity speakers at the ongoing International AIDS Conference here admitted that the world continued to face serious challenges in halting the spread of the epidemic. Reflecting on the mixed record of the scientific community seeking a cure for HIV-AIDS Ms. Clinton said, “The ability to prevent and treat the disease has advanced beyond what many might have reasonably hoped 22 years ago. Yes, AIDS is still incurable, but it no longer has to be a death sentence.” With a rare hat-tip to former U.S. President George W. Bush, for setting up the nodal PEPFAR agency in 2003 for fighting HIV-AIDS in the U.S., the Secretary added that under President Barack Obama the U.S.’ focus has been on “shifting out of emergency mode and starting to build sustainable health systems that will help us finally win this fight.” To that end, she announced, the U.S. would be contributing an additional $40 million to support South Africa’s voluntary medical circumcision plans; investing an additional $80 million to ensure that HIV-positive pregnant women receive adequate treatment; $37 million in implementation research, country-specific programmes and civil-society support targeting vulnerable and high-risk populations across the world. India found specific mention as a nation with one of the largest HIV-positive populations globally, when Ms. Clinton said that along with South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana, India, may be able to provide more and better care for its by committing more of its own resources to the cause.