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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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