Remarks as Delivered for the White House World AIDS Day Event, Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

November 30, 2009

Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, DC
November 30, 2009

Well, thank you. Thank you. It really an honor to speak to you, Secretary Clinton, Jeffrey Crowley, Dr. Elly Katabira, and Valerie Jarrett. Thank you, Secretary [Sebelius] for the introduction.

I would like to offer special greetings to the members of the diplomatic corps from PEPFAR partner countries who joined us here today. We are greatly appreciative of their presence and value their partnership with us as we look forward to moving ahead together.

I see, really, more people than I can count in the audience who are old friends that we have worked with for many years, going through much of the epidemic. Indeed, the last time we had an International AIDS meeting in the United States was in San Francisco. And it was 1989, so it has been a long time.

World AIDS Day evokes memories for many of you, as it certainly does for me. The urgency around providing prevention, care and treatment services is fueled by the memories of those we have lost, so many lives unrealized and potentials unmet.

In my first months in this position, I have seen the dedication of those who have made PEPFAR a reality around the world. As those of us who spent time in Africa before and after PEPFAR know, its human impact has been truly profound, and continues to reverberate.

It is important to acknowledge the work of President George Bush, as Secretary Clinton did, and a bipartisan Congress in creating and continuing to support PEPFAR. The American people can truly be proud of the work that is taking place, and of the dedicated people who are doing this work.

Yet it is equally true [applause]. It is equally true that the global AIDS emergency is far from over. Countries still struggle with vast unmet needs. There are vast unmet needs in our own country. We need to work harder - and smarter - than ever before, laying a foundation that countries can build on for the long term.

Later this week, as Secretary Clinton mentioned, we will release a new PEPFAR Five-Year Strategy that reflects what we have learned from the program's first five years. It will be followed by the release of Annexes providing additional information in more detail on evidence-based prevention, integration of programs, increased capacity-building efforts, among other topics.

PEPFAR's Five Year Strategy will focus on sustainability and sustainable responses -

  • Programs that are country-owned and country-driven.
  • Programs that address HIV/AIDS in the context of the broader health needs faced by people with HIV.
  • Programs that build upon our successes and incorporate efficiencies.
  • Programs that work with governments to support policy change to address discrimination, including, as the Secretary noted earlier, the situation in Uganda.

It will not be an easy task to transition our emergency response, especially as we maintain high quality of services. But the move towards sustainability is an essential one. As we expand our HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts, we need to engage with our fellow international and multilateral partners to create a shared vision of a global response to this global responsibility.

I want to offer my thanks to Secretary Sebelius for HHS' important role, as she mentioned, in implementing PEPFAR. Over 1,000 HHS employees dedicated to the implementation and evaluation and improvement of the program. And for its action to end the entry ban for people living with HIV - a major step. The removal of the entry ban moves us closer to reducing stigma and discrimination associated with the disease worldwide, and as a shining example thereof. Stigma and discrimination against both people living with HIV and most at-risk populations hinder our ability to provide effective prevention, care and treatment services. It is important for us not only to support service delivery, but also the policies needed to remove barriers to quality and accessible care.

As Secretary Clinton also noted, the removal of the entry ban paves the way for the U.S. to host the International AIDS Conference once again in 2012, for the first time since the end of the 1980s. All of us who are engaged in this work, domestically or internationally, we rely on new data to deepen our understanding of the science around HIV. The International AIDS Conference is important for generating and disseminating this science, and as program implementers, we look forward to the deepening our partnership with the International AIDS Society.

I thank you very much for this opportunity. I want to introduce my friend and colleague, Elly Katabira, who is President-elect of the International AIDS Society.

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