News / Africa

Turning the Tide against AIDS

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby, M.D. (Brookings)U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby, M.D. (Brookings)
x
U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby, M.D. (Brookings)
U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby, M.D. (Brookings)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
Next month, the United States will host the world’s largest AIDS conference for the first time in more than 20 years. More than 20,000 people are expected to gather in Washington, D.C. for AIDS 2012. The top U.S. official on HIV/AIDS says much progress has made against the disease over the past three decades.

De Capua report on Ambassador Eric Goosby
De Capua report on Ambassador Eric Goosbyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have said that an AIDS-free generation is within reach. U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby is leading the effort to reach that goal.

“These words from the president and the secretary were based on a series of scientific discoveries primarily funded by the United States which have become game changers over the course of the past year. And because of the science the world will come together at AIDS 2012 to say that we’re turning the tide. That’s the theme of the conference. A tide that once overwhelmed the world is now a tide that is uniting the world. Hope is truly taking the place of despair,” he said.

Recent advances include promising vaccine, microbicide and treatment research.

In the early 1980s, in San Francisco, Goosby says he experienced the grief and loss brought by HIV/AIDS. With no treatment available, hundreds of his patients died from a then still mysterious disease. That changed in the mid-90s when the first antiretroviral drugs became available and saved lives.

Then came Africa

Goosby then turned his attention to sub-Saharan Africa. It was very different situation there.

“AIDS was wiping out a generation and reversing health gains in Africa. Hospitals were completely overwhelmed by the massive volume of dying patients – people. These were routinely multiple people in a bed, people on the floor. They weren’t getting the antiretroviral that was available here in the United States and Europe, so HIV infection was truly a death sentence,” he said.

Goosby said that AIDS “threatened the very foundations of African society.”

“It wiped out people in the prime of their lives when they should have been caring for their families. It created millions of orphans unable to attend school without the support provided by their parents,” he said.

What’s more, the disease brought economic growth to a halt in many countries. He says they were then trapped in a cycle of poverty.

“That in turn created societal instability leading the U.N. Security Council to identify AIDS as a security issue in 2001,” he said.

Today, however, HIV/AIDS is no longer a certain death sentence in sub-Saharan Africa thanks to greater access to life saving drugs.

Goosby said, “A decade ago, almost no one in Africa was receiving treatment. Now 6.6 million – men, women and children – are on antiretroviral therapy in developing countries with the vast majority of them being in sub-Saharan Africa.”

That’s due in large part to PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The program began under President George W. Bush and continues under President Obama. Dr. Goosby is the man in charge of PEPFAR.

“It’s almost impossible to overstate America’s contribution. Through PEPFAR, as of last year, the United States supports nearly 4 million people on treatment. That’s up from 1.7 million in 2008, showing continued rapid expansion even during these tight budget times,” he said.

Last year, PEPFAR helped provide drugs to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV to 660,000 women. What’s more, it supported testing and counseling for 40 million people in 2011.

PEPFAR, along with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has funded numerous programs in the developing world. In doing so, many national healthcare systems have been strengthened.

Goosby says the know-how exists to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

“We know what must be done to end this epidemic and I have great hope that we can do it and get it done. Hope that we see in the science that guides our efforts – hope that we see as the world unites to turn the tide against this devastating disease. Hope that has taken the place of despair. Hope that keeps everyone in this room pushing forward, getting up and doing it again,” he said.

Ambassador Goosby made his remarks at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C.

The last time the U.S. hosted the International AIDS Conference was in 1990 in San Francisco. A major reason for that was the travel ban the U.S. imposed on those infected with HIV. President Bush began action to lift the ban and President Obama took the final steps when he took office.

The 19th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) will be held from July 22 to the 27.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid