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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid