FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Natasha Bilimoria, President of Friends of the Global Fight, Praises President Barack Obama’s Remarks at ONE/(PRODUCT)RED Panel Marking World AIDS Day
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton Also Stress the Need for Bipartisanship and Continued Strong Support in the Global Fight Against HIV and AIDS
Washington, D.C., December 1, 2011 — Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria applauds President Barack Obama’s remarks at “The Beginning of the End of AIDS,” a panel hosted today the ONE Campaign and (PRODUCT)RED that marked the 23rd annual World AIDS Day. In his speech, the President announced the Administration’s new target of reaching 6 million people with AIDS treatment by 2013. He also reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to its pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and urged other donor nations to “give the money that they promised” to support the lifesaving work of the Global Fund.
In the wake of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call to achieve an AIDS-free generation, the President’s remarks further bolstered the Administration’s public plea for invigorated attention on AIDS treatment and prevention measures.
In a show of bipartisanship at the highest level, today’s panel also included remarks by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Like President Obama, the former Presidents emphasized that support from both parties, through the Global Fund and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has been key to the massive successes seen to date in the fight against HIV and AIDS — and it remains crucial to defeating this deadly disease, even in this tough economic environment. President Bush noted that in times of budget constraint, the U.S. is “required to support effective programs,” such as those sustained by the Global Fund and PEPFAR.
Panel participants Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) reiterated this message, emphasizing the moral imperative to help those affected by this devastating disease, as well as the tremendous return on U.S. global health investments. As Congress continues the difficult task of balancing the budget, Friends of the Global Fight urges Congress to keep in mind the historic successes described today and support a strong U.S. commitment to global HIV/AIDS, including a robust U.S. contribution to the Global Fund.
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit with healthy, active women and children in Accra, Ghana, at a Global Fund-financed hospital that administers treatment to pregnant women to prevent the passage of HIV to their babies. This hospital has a 100% success rate. The end of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is a goal within our grasp in the next four years, but the possibility of new treatment centers will be curbed without continued strong support from the
U.S. government and other donors.
“At a time when so much in Washington divides us, the fight against this disease has united us across parties and across presidents,” said President Obama. “And it shows that we can do big things when Republicans and Democrats put their common humanity before politics.” Today’s panel was an important step in the right direction, but we need solid action in Congress to keep up the march toward an AIDS-free generation.
FRIENDS OF THE GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS AND MALARIA
Friends of the Global Fight works to end the worldwide burden of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We educate, engage and mobilize U.S. decision makers to support the Global Fund, the world’s largest public health financier. For more information about Friends of the Global Fight, visit www.TheGlobalFight.org.
Anne Marson 202.912.3835
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