The second day of United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting on AIDS activities culminated with an announcement by the head of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program representatives along with UNAIDS that they have set the goal of virtually eliminating mother-to-child transmission of AIDS by 2015.
At the star-studded afternoon session where the announcement was made, President Bill Clinton, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon, actress Naomi Watts, musical artist and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador Annie Lenox and others gathered to speak up for pregnant mothers and children affected by and infected with and at risk of HIV.
Warren W. Buckingham III – best known as Buck – is director of the Office of AIDS Relief at the Peace Corps. In his career he has played critical roles in fighting AIDS domestically and globally. Most recently he had a major impact as the Kenya country coordinator for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program for six years, overseeing a budget that grew from $30 million in 2003 to nearly $600 million today. He began his work in AIDS some 26 years ago in writing a proposal that secured funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to establish the AIDS Arms Network in Dallas, Texas, one of the first domestic demonstration projects for enhanced care of people living with AIDS in the U.S. (These grants are largely viewed as having provided the foundation for the Ryan White CARE Act, and Buck worked for a period of time in the early 90s at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in the Ryan White Program). Soon after Buck started on that project, he was diagnosed with HIV. For years, he has spoken publicly about living with the disease, helping to erase stigma and shame both in America and Africa. John Donnelly interviewed Buckingham for the final interview in a Science Speaks series on 30 years of AIDS.