News / Africa

AIDS High on Clinton Africa Agenda

South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, left, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speak with Calesa Vinger, and Lizette Monteith about pharmacy procedures in a clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, Aug. 8, 2012.
South Africa's Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, left, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speak with Calesa Vinger, and Lizette Monteith about pharmacy procedures in a clinic in Delft South, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, Aug. 8, 2012.
Anne Look
CAPETOWN, South Africa — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has wrapped up her 11-day, 9-country tour of Africa, much of which was spent highlight efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

Clinton called on countries to not forget prevention programs even as they make strides in treatment and lowering infection rates.

She visited a testing center in Malawi, a pharmacy distributing anti-retroviral treatment in South Africa, and a health clinic in Uganda.  All three are initiatives supported by the United States.

Africa -- in particular eastern and southern Africa -- remains disproportionately infected by HIV/AIDS despite increased access to treatment and and an overall decline in  new infections. Clinton praised recent strides made in South Africa, where Washington has invested $3.2 billion since 2004.

Thanks to the joint effort, Clinton said millions have received treatment and testing and the rate of mother-to-child transmission has dropped dramatically.

"Now, when we look back at where South Africa was a decade ago, these numbers represent remarkable progress," she said. "AIDS did represent an unprecedented national emergency, and we needed to scale up treatment and care to millions of people as fast as we could. That’s what we’ve done together.  But let’s be honest here, this disease is still very dangerous.  It still demands our close attention," Clinton said.

Though the country has made advances in slowing the infection rate, 17.8 percent of South Africans have tested positive for the virus. It is home to what the United Nations says is the world's largest HIV epidemic with 5.6 million people infected.
 
America limited access to HIV/AIDS funding to the government of South Africa during the administration of former President Thabo Mbeki, who denied there was a link between HIV and AIDS and rejected internationally recognized treatments for the disease.

Access to treatment has been a cornerstone of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, known as PEPFAR, and other global initiatives.  The U.N. says nearly 40 percent of HIV-positive people in sub-Saharan Africa now have access to anti-retroviral treatment, up from 2 percent in 2002.

However, Clinton said that success should not impart a false sense of security.  She spoke in South Africa just days after a visit to Uganda where the HIV-infection rate has climbed from 6.4 percent in 2005 to 7.3 percent in 2011. That is a disappointing statistic, she said, for the country that was once considered a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
 
"I am here because I am worried," said Clinton. " In recent years, the focus on prevention has faded and new infections are on the rise again. Uganda is now the only country in sub-Saharan Africa where the rate of HIV is going up instead of going down."
Some experts have blamed an abstinence-based approach to prevention for the backslide in Uganda.

Clinton pledged an additional $25 million in funding for HIV/AIDS work there, for programs to wipe out mother-to-child transmission of the disease.

In South Africa, Clinton announced the beginning of a transition period, during which South Africa will assume greater financial burden and management of its PEPFAR-sponsored HIV/AIDS program. It's a global first for the PEPFAR program, she said, and a testament to the country's progress.

"Nonetheless, some people may hear South Africa is in the lead and think that means that the United States is bowing out.  So let me say this clearly: The United States is not going anywhere.  We will continue to be your close partners through PEPFAR … We are in this for the long haul," she said. "This disease is no respecter of boundaries, no respecter of any kind of attribute.  It does not respect race or religion, ethnicity, gender.  It is an equal opportunity infection and can be an equal opportunity killer."

This work, and this partnership, will not be done, Clinton said, until the world achieves an "AIDS-free generation."

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ulric Todman from: USA
August 13, 2012 7:19 AM
AIDS is caused by the ingestion of solvents. In southern Africa, I can attribute it to solvents that are used in the processing of illegal drugs or the contamination of the individual who use it for cooking, or lighting. Maybe that's why days a reduction in the number of people that are coming down with AIDS because they are not using and as much the lighting or cooking. In the last 20 years there have been major electrification of areas in Africa. The use of solvents such as kerosene contaminates their use on a regular basis. If he has any abrasion to his skin it will trigger an immune response and if it continues over, it will lead to the condition that's called HIV-AIDS. This has to be investigated because in the United States, where we can link these solvents, we find that sense the explosion of cocaine in the United States in the early 1980s is when the epidemic started. These solvents cannot be any good for anyone to ingest, yet we do not find any major investigation of their connection to this epidemic. This must be investigated and you will find that this is the cause of the problem. 9/10 people that test positive, have used cocaine. Solvents is the cause of this problem,PLEASE INVESTAGE>

by: Assegid Kebede from: Nairobi
August 13, 2012 4:25 AM
Thanks to America as a whole and the Obama/Clinton team for the important support for Africa on HIV/AIDS front. With due respect to what Madam Clinton said, I would dsiagree on the point of HIV/AIDS being 'an equal opportunity infection and a [that] 'it could be an equal opprtunity killer'. Though theoretically, all of us have an equal chance of infection/death, the disease discriminately affects the poor in general and poor young women in particular due to their social vulnerability. Declaring it as an 'equal opportunity' disease might de-focus the focused activities that we are engaged in.

by: OctaviaRedmond from: Chicago
August 12, 2012 5:20 PM
I w ould like to say keep up the good work OBama family and Team.

by: Matilda Sweeft from: UK
August 12, 2012 3:53 PM
hey her Husband has been spreading Aids on a national scale... maybe she should start with him... disgrace

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs