Today Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced her goal to create an "AIDS-free generation" with the U.S. global AIDS initiatives, while calling for an end to "evidence free" conservative politics in Washington.
"Now, by an AIDS-free generation," said Clinton, in a speech delivered at the National Institutes of Health. "I mean one where, first, virtually no children are born with the virus; second, as these children become teenagers and adults, they are at far lower risk of becoming infected than they would be today thanks to a wide range of prevention tools; and third, if they do acquire HIV, they have access to treatment that helps prevent them from developing AIDS and passing the virus on to others."
Clinton proposed that focusing on mother to child transmission, voluntary circumcisions for men, and for scaling up treatment efforts as a way to prevent HIV would be the major way forward in the U.S. global AIDS initiatives.
Showing a moment of sharp wit we saw in the 2008 presidential campaigns, she took a jab at the social conservative politics that have shaped the U.S. response to the epidemic, saying "Success depends on deploying our tools based on the best available evidence. Now, I know that occasionally it feels in and around Washington that there are some who wish us to live in an evidence-free zone. (Laughter.) But it's imperative [applause] that we stand up for evidence and for science."
"Secretary Clinton laid out a bold vision today," said Matthew Kavanagh, Director of U.S. Advocacy for Health GAP. "Her speech could be the foundation for the U.S. administration to lead the world to end the AIDS crisis. And it raises high expectations among all those who heard it: we expect that President Obama will now take leadership and dramatically ramp up PEPFAR antiretroviral treatment targets as well as scaling up other highly impactful prevention technologies.
Activists from Housing Works and dozens of other organizations from the We Can End AIDS Coalition will be holding a massive march for Human Rights and Economic Justice next July at the International AIDS Conference in an "evidence-free zone" called Washington, D.C., making sure the Obama Administration keeps its promise for an AIDS-free generation, domestically and abroad.
Read the entire Clinton speech or watch it here.