News / Africa

Spearheading the Fight against HIV/AIDS

Dr. Paul De Lay, Deputy Director, UNAIDS (De Capua)
Dr. Paul De Lay, Deputy Director, UNAIDS (De Capua)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
A top official at UNAIDS says in the early days of the epidemic leaders emerged not from the highest levels of government, but from the grassroots level where the disease had struck the hardest. Paul De Lay spoke at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington.

The UNAIDS official says when the epidemic began more than 30 years ago, individuals took the lead to care for the sick and dying. De Lay said they took the lead in getting the world to listen.

“We have to recognize that from the beginning of this epidemic – and it’s still true today – that as we’ve looked to our traditional leaders – political leaders, religious leaders, presidents, prime ministers – we’ve often seen a failure to respond to the epidemic the way it should have been responded to. And instead, we’ve had to look to nontraditional leaders. Now that’s changing. But I still something that I think is the most powerful part of the AIDS response,” he said.

Ordinary people did extraordinary things without resources and little information about the disease.

“They’ve come from the youth. They’ve come from faith-based organizations.  They’ve come from communities that are affected. People living with HIV. And the workplace. And when you look back and you think of Noerine Kaleeba in Uganda, Zackie Achmet in South Africa, Larry Kramer in New York. They were our leaders. They were our leaders in a time of real need,” he said.

He said UNAIDS believes it’s important to continue to nurture, develop and support leaders.

“There are a couple of things that all leaders, all advocates, all champions truly need. First of all, they need a clear vision that’s actionable. That’s measureable. And something that they can provide a continuity for passion, for dialogue, for research. That’s critical. The other thing that a leader needs for this epidemic is a good political sense. Who they need to talk to and what’s the right time to do that talking,” said De Lay.

He added leaders need to ask two important questions: What drives risk? And what blocks access to services? The answers to those questions, he says, drive the epidemic.

“We also have to have a ruthless respect for human rights because that is the core of the response. The technologies will only take us so far. And then finally, I think that leaders need to set the direction. They need to frame the dialogues and they’re going to have to be courageous,” he said.

Despite all the scientific advances, De Lay said, “The HIV/AIDS “epidemic will always require unique courage to respond to all aspects of the response.”

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid