FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Organization Honors Those Who Have Contributed to a Decade of Progress in Fight to Defeat the Disease
Washington, D.C., Dec. 2, 2014 — Ten years ago, the late Jack Valenti, longtime head of the Motion Picture Association of America, joined philanthropist Ed Scott in founding Friends of the Global Fight to help promote U.S. investments in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and to give the Global Fund a voice in Washington, D.C. Tonight, at a special event commemorating its 10th anniversary, Friends is honoring those whose advocacy, legislation, leadership, research and scientific efforts have contributed to tremendous progress in the past decade, and who have helped bring us closer to an AIDS-free generation.
“Many of the individuals fighting to defeat HIV/AIDS on a global scale began their journeys at a local level here in the United States. Their experiences have stayed with them and served as a driving force in their professional pursuits,” said Friends’ President Deb Derrick. “We wanted to honor the pioneering advocates, physicians, scientists and policymakers who helped transform grassroots activism into a coordinated and highly successful global mission.”
Enormous progress has been made in the fight against HIV and AIDS since the beginning of this millennium. Robust international and increasing domestic investments have contributed to remarkable successes: 13.6 million people have received antiretroviral therapy as of June 2014; there has been a 38 percent reduction in incidence since 2001; and AIDS-related deaths have fallen 35 percent since their peak in 2005.
Through long-standing and consistently bipartisan support for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund, the United States has been a leader in turning this pandemic into a treatable disease that experts believe can be contained. Friends of the Global Fight works in Washington, D.C., to encourage investments in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, especially through the Global Fund, which accounts for more than 20 percent of international AIDS funding. Today, the Global Fund supports programs that provide 7.3 million people with antiretroviral medication and have provided 2.7 million pregnant women with treatment to prevent the transmission of HIV to their babies.
“Coming from South Africa, I know all too well the devastating impact of AIDS on families, communities and economies. But I have also seen firsthand the transformative progress we have achieved; progress due to the tireless work of the leaders, advocates and experts Friends is honoring today,” said Jonathan Klein, Co-Founder and CEO of Getty Images and Friends’ Board Chair.
Tonight, Friends will host global health champions, distinguished Members of Congress and advocates and will pay special tribute to its founders, Jack Valenti and Ed Scott. This event is an opportunity to recognize the astonishing contributions of these individuals and the enormous progress of the past decade. It will also serve to galvanize partners to continue the fight, inspiring a continued and enhanced drive toward defeating HIV/AIDS altogether.
“Friends is proud of the life-changing successes achieved globally in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Klein. “We are honored to work alongside the champions we are celebrating tonight to strengthen U.S. leadership and support for the Global Fund’s important, lifesaving work.”
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.