Secretary Clinton defined three elements of an AIDS-free generation.
A decade ago, the concept of an “AIDS-free Generation” seemed like a distant dream. But today, because of major advances in science, we have made enormous strides toward that goal. The United States, through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has led the global fight and last year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made an AIDS-free generation a policy goal for the United States. Secretary Clinton defined three elements of an AIDS-free generation.
First, virtually no children are born with the virus. Second, these children will grow to lead healthy, productive lives with a lower risk of becoming infected with HIV/AIDS. Finally, for those who are or do become infected, they will have access to treatment that prevents them from developing AIDS and reduces the risk of passing the virus to others.
Last month, at the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary Clinton addressed members of the African Union and recognized the leadership of several countries in taking ownership of their own AIDS response.
“We can foresee an AIDS-free generation, and that is because nations are stepping up to their own responsibilities to care for their own people,” she said. “Because ultimately, if we are going to win the fight against AIDS, the societies that are the hardest hit will have to lead the way.”
Secretary Clinton reinforced U.S. leadership in the global HIV/AIDS response, but also emphasized that programs must be led by countries themselves if the HIV/AIDS response is to be sustainable for the long term.
“Country ownership is not code for abandoning our partners. We are continuing our support, but we are reshaping our programs in ways that make them more sustainable. We want to help our partners, all of you, set priorities and get the capacity to manage resources, develop your own plans, implement them, and eventually fund them as well. Because in the end, there must be commitment from communities and from governments across the world.
“Change can be difficult,” said Secretary Clinton. “So when we talk about holding each other accountable, we are really agreeing to help each other overcome inertia, to make hard choices, to do the tough work of finding new ways to work together.”
“If every nation devastated by HIV ... steps up to shared responsibility, we won’t just keep up our momentum; we will accelerate our progress and move even faster toward the day when we can announce the birth of an AIDS-free generation.”