The White House hosted a World AIDS Day event today with a video from the President and remarks from a number of key administration officials with leadership posts related to HIV/AIDS. Jeff Crowley, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy hosted the event in tandem with Dr. Eric Goosby, Director of the Office of Global AIDS Policy.
Melody Barnes, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council highlighted key achievements of the Obama Administration on HIV/AIDS including the devel
opment of a national AIDS strategy, removal of the travel/immigration ban barring HIV infected visitors and would-be immigrants, and the unprecedented 3-year, $4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. She assured the audience that the President’s commitment to advancing the fight against the HIV pandemic in the U.S. and in the developing world was unwavering, notwithstanding the challenging political and economic times.
Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator, noted that 55 percent of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) effort was channeled through USAID, and highlighted an initiative to scale-up medical male circumcision in Swaziland, with the hopes of averting 88,000 HIV infections.
NIAID Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci talked about optimizing treatment, and prevention and the effort to find a functional cure for HIV-infected persons. In this regard, he pointed out that this effort was likely to be successful, primarily in individuals who had been able to access antiretroviral therapy early in the course of HIV infection because these individuals were likely to have a much smaller reservoir of HIV virus. In regard to the recent exciting results from CAPRISA and iPrEx, he noted that “adherence is everything.”
Goosby described PEPFAR as a “smart investment” and announced that the U.S. was instrumental in providing lifesaving HIV treatment to 3.2. million people in developing countries in the last fiscal year compared to less than 2.5 million in the previous year. He highlighted this as significant progress toward treatment of the more than 4 million people identified as the target in the PEPFAR strategy. PEPFAR also provided services to 3.8 million orphans and vulnerable children in fiscal year 2010.