President Clinton has called for strengthening the health care systems of
developing countries to better fight HIV/AIDS. Mr. Clinton addressed the 17th
International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, where the theme
is Universal Action
before arriving in Mexico City, the former president visited Ethiopia, Rwanda,
Liberia and Senegal, where the Clinton Foundation has health and AIDS-related
all come here with a common purpose. We want to prevent new infections, provide
care and treatment to all who are infected, support the search for a completely
effective prevention and the ever-elusive cure. We all come in the hope that
somehow the presentations on this theme, Universal Action Now, will help each
of us to determine what more we can do," he says.
Clinton says underdeveloped health systems in poor countries "limit the reach
of life-saving strategies." He says strategies to reduce HIV/AIDS must also
include plans to deal with TB, malaria and other infectious diseases. In fact,
he says people should automatically be tested for TB at the same time they're
tested for HIV infection.
doesn't make much sense for us to continue to be asking these men, women and
children to go to two clinics, with two doctors and two pharmacies and two
strategies to treat one person, who has got enough problems as it is," Clinton
likens the effort to defeat HIV/AIDS to a mythological battle.
is a very big dragon. The mythological dragon was slain by St. George, the
original knight in shining armor. But this dragon must be slain instead by
millions and millions of foot soldiers. Universal Action Now calls on all of us
to make the best use of the weapons at our disposal," he says.
says the latest report from UNAIDS – showing a decline in deaths last year –
should convince the world it can face the persistent challenges that remain.
These include 2.7 million new infections each year, a 30 percent rate of
mother-to-child transmission of HIV in developing nations and continuing stigma
and human rights problems.
we think about what to do, let's start with what we know. Treatment and
prevention must go hand in hand. We've seen for a long time that the
availability of treatment increases the uptake in prevention, including
testing, counseling, and education about behavior change," he says.
Clinton says some current prevention approaches must continue, such as condom
use, substitution therapy for injection drug users and increasing male
circumcision, which studies show can reduce HIV infection.
the HIV/AIDS epidemic is over 25 years old, he says much ignorance remains. And
that can cost lives.
unbelievably, after all these years, 80 percent of the people who are HIV
positive still do not know their status. That is 26 million people at high risk
of transmitting the virus to others," he says.
former president adds that universal action on AIDS is blocked not only by
inequalities in health care and economies, but also by "widespread and
persistent gender inequity and violence."
The Clinton Foundation operates a number of programs
in developing countries addressing health, climate change, economic growth and