�No country can ignore this crisis. Fighting AIDS is an urgent calling � because every life, in every land, has value and dignity.�
First Lady Laura Bush
HIV/AIDS is a public health emergency that is global. Yet it is also local � taking a toll on individuals, families, and communities, one by one.
The leadership needed to defeat HIV/AIDS must come from every nation and from every sector of society within nations. Therefore, the President�s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Emergency Plan/PEPFAR) has focused on fostering host country leadership in the governmental and non-governmental sectors, especially among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Such leadership is critical in combating the stigma that continues to inhibit the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Public affairs outreach within the United States and public diplomacy abroad contribute importantly to the accountability and leadership goals of the Emergency Plan. Public diplomacy is the vital effort to share America�s story and ideals with others around the world. At the global level, the United States continues to play the leadership role it assumed in the world�s fight against HIV/AIDS when President Bush launched the Emergency Plan, by seeking to mobilize bold leadership and additional resources from other countries, entities, and individuals. Through diplomacy with other current and potential international partner governments and multilateral organizations, the Emergency Plan works to deepen other developed nations� commitment to the fight against global AIDS.
Supporting Leadership on HIV/AIDS in Host Nations
In November 2006, the President and Mrs. Bush toured the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, a site supported by the Emergency Plan. During the visit, President Bush acknowledged the strides being made in the fight against HIV/AIDS as a result of the partnership between Vietnam and the United States. The visit and the President�s commendations of the U.S.-Vietnam partnership received extensive media coverage in Vietnam, as well as internationally.
|In January 2006, the First Lady visited St. Mary�s Hospital in Gwagwalada, Nigeria, and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment on HIV/AIDS, noting: �We are all hopeful that one day an entire generation will be born free of HIV.� During the President�s visit to Russia for the G-8 summit in July 2006, the First Lady participated in a roundtable discussion at the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Clinical Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, highlighting the U.S. commitment to children living with the virus.
Along with her travels, Mrs. Bush represented the U.S. as an outspoken advocate in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Her advocacy has resulted in increased attention by policymakers, members of the media, and diplomatic leaders. In March 2006, Mrs. Bush announced an unprecedented public-private partnership for pediatric AIDS treatment (please see the chapter on Children). The Emergency Plan developed this initiative to promote scientific and technical discussions to devise solutions for pediatric HIV treatment, maximize the utility of currently-available pediatric formulations, and accelerate children�s access to treatment.
In June 2006, Mrs. Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly High Level Review Meeting on HIV/AIDS. She proposed the designation of an International HIV Testing Day, arguing that �... [L]ife-saving treatment never reaches people who do not know they are infected.� In December 2006, the U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted the concept of an International Counseling and Testing Day.
Mrs. Bush continued her HIV/AIDS advocacy in September 2006 at the Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, where she announced a groundbreaking public-private partnership involving the USG, PlayPumps International, the Case Foundation, and other public- and private-sector partners. This alliance will work with 10 sub- Saharan African countries to bring clean drinking water to up to 10 million people by 2010 (please see the chapter on Building Capacity: Partnerships for Sustainability).
Meetings and events attended by host nation government and civil society leaders also afford key opportunities to encourage action against the pandemic. In August 2006, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Mark Dybul, led a USG delegation to the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada. Ambassador Dybul explained to participants how the USG is working with host nations, and in an interview with the Kaiser Family Foundation, he stressed the importance of sustainability and local capacity-building in meeting the Emergency Plan�s goals. He explained, �President Bush committed $15 billion over five years, so we could achieve those goals and so we�re on track to do it, and we�re going to do it by building local capacity, building the systems in country � in a multi-sector way.�
Ambassador Dybul and the Director of Kenya�s National AIDS/STI Control Programme, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed, co-authored an opinion piece on USG support for Kenya�s HIV prevention efforts, which was published in the Toronto Star newspaper during the conference. Additionally, Kenyans discussed their role in implementing the Emergency Plan via a digital video conference from Nairobi which was attended by Canadian journalists in Toronto.
PEPFAR�s 2006 HIV/AIDS Implementers� Meeting in Durban, South Africa, was attended by numerous governmental and non-governmental leaders from host nations, providing another key outreach opportunity. This meeting is discussed at length in the chapter on Implementation and Management.
Fostering Leadership of People Living with HIV/AIDS
In December 2006, President Bush highlighted this issue by inviting Mr. Cyriaque Yapo Ako of C�te d�Ivoire, Executive Director of the R�seau Ivoirien des Organisations des Personnes Vivant avec le VIH/SIDA (RIP+), to a World AIDS Day roundtable at the White House (discussed further in this chapter). RIP+, one of the 22 initial grantees under the New Partners Initiative (please see the chapter on Building Capacity: Partnerships for Sustainability) is an association of groups for PLWHA. It employs integrated and comprehensive programming, in order to build the capacity of local organizations to provide care and support to PLWHA. Mr. Ako is a leader in the campaign for the rights of PLWHA and for the extension of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care services in C�te d�Ivoire.
PEPFAR supports numerous activities that engender leadership among PLWHA. A few examples include:
The President considers the participation of PLWHA to be a critical element in the global HIV/AIDS response. On World AIDS Day 2006, President Bush directed the Secretary of State to request, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to initiate, a rulemaking process that would create a categorical waiver for PLWHA seeking to enter the United States on short-term visas. A 1993 law prohibits HIV-positive people from receiving visas to visit the United States without a waiver, but a categorical waiver will enable PLWHA to enter the United States for short visits through a streamlined process.
Raising Awareness through Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy
For example, World AIDS Day is observed on December 1st of each year. In 2006, the USG selected �the promise of partnerships,� as the theme around which to coordinate all its outreach and awareness endeavors. A variety of communication initiatives highlighted local people and organizations around the world that are creating hope in their own nations and communities, resulting in extensive domestic and international press coverage.
At the White House, President Bush discussed the global and domestic response to HIV/AIDS at a roundtable discussion with Mrs. Bush, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt, Ambassador Dybul, and HIV/AIDS community leaders from the U.S. and Africa.
On World AIDS Day, the White House also announced new partnerships under PEPFAR�s New Partners Initiative (discussed in the chapter on Building Capacity: Partnerships for Sustainability).
A wide range of media activities illustrated the promise of partnerships between the American people and the people of the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS. These included domestic and international press coverage, opinion editorials, and digital video conferences. Ambassador Dybul�s editorial on the �Promise of Partnerships� ran in seven U.S. newspapers, and a joint op-ed on public-private partnerships by Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Group, and Ambassador Dybul ran in the Financial Times. Digital video conferences between PEPFAR principals and Malta, Taiwan, and Zambia, domestic and international media, and students from 10 universities were held leading up to World AIDS Day.
Other principals from the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator participated in World AIDS Day activities around the world. Dr. Tom Kenyon, Principal Deputy Coordinator and Chief Medical Officer, participated in the Government of Tanzania�s World AIDS Day commemorations, which were attended by President Kikwete and U.S. Ambassador Retzer. The event was held in the rural town of Musoma and drew a crowd of close to 30,000 people, many of whom were young adults. Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Director of Diplomatic Outreach, participated in a World AIDS Day roundtable discussion at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York City.
At the country level, U.S. Ambassadors are key public advocates for HIV/AIDS awareness and local partnerships. By meeting with PLWHA, visiting PEPFAR-supported projects, and being publicly tested for HIV, U.S. Ambassadors play active roles in raising awareness and advocating for HIV/AIDS initiatives. Around World AIDS Day, U.S. Ambassadors authored op-eds in local newspapers and participated in a wide range of events. Among the highlights:
One of the most effective new public diplomacy tools produced this year was a 30-minute documentary entitled, �Voices of Hope,� which was produced by Still Life Projects. The film features community leaders and recipients of services from Guyana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia. Participants spoke about how PEPFAR�s prevention, treatment, and care initiatives are making a difference in their lives. To view �Voices of Hope,� visit http://www.PEPFAR.gov.
On August 9, 2006, �Voices of Hope� premiered at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington. Ambassadors to the United States from Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Vietnam, as well as other members of the diplomatic corps from PEPFAR partner nations, were in the audience. Ambassador Dybul told attendees: �The Emergency Plan was the first quantum leap in commitment by the American people � to support the fight against HIV/AIDS.
|The American people will stand with the people of the world in this fight, until the fight is won.� Dina Powell, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, stressed the importance of the Emergency Plan�s efforts to unite a variety of organizations in the fight against HIV/AIDS. She highlighted the importance of �Voices of Hope� as a public diplomacy tool.
Since its release, the film has been used by U.S. Embassies to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS and of the partnerships between the American people and the people of many nations. It also was used to educate U.S. audiences about HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day. It is provided free of charge, and high schools and universities across the United States requested copies of the DVD to play not only on World AIDS Day, but also in conjunction with lessons in health, science, and social studies classes throughout the school year. The film resonates with audiences because it features people and families living with HIV/AIDS who share their experiences in their own words.
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