Clinton calls for evidence-based efforts to defeat AIDS

November / December 2011 | Volume 10, Issue 6

In a speech at NIH marking 30 years of the fight against HIV/AIDS, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a renewed push for an "AIDS-free generation" by the United States and other countries, using scientific advances to stem the pandemic.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton smiles from a podium with NIH logo, American flags in background
Photo by Ernie Branson

"The goal of an AIDS-free generation is ambitious,
but it is possible," Clinton said.

"We need to let science guide our efforts," she told the capacity crowd of scientists and research administrators. "Success depends on deploying our tools based on the best available evidence."

Using a variety of methods in a "combination prevention" strategy is the most effective way to combat HIV/AIDS, Clinton asserted. The focus should be on three key interventions: ending mother to child transmission, expanding voluntary medical male circumcision and scaling up treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS. She noted recent NIH-funded research shows that early treatment with antiretrovirals can reduce transmission of the HIV virus by 96 percent.

"None of the interventions can create an AIDS-free generation by itself," said Clinton. "But used in combination with each other and with other powerful prevention methods, they present an extraordinary opportunity."

Dr Anthony Fauci walks next to Secretary Hillary Clinton, who speaks with Dr. Francis Collins while exiting a building.
Photo by Ernie Branson

The Secretary of State met with NIH
Director Dr. Francis S. Collins (right) and
National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases Director Dr.
Anthony S. Fauci, a leader in the fight
against HIV/AIDS for 30 years.

In addition to relying on science, Clinton urged more emphasis on country ownership of AIDS prevention programs and called on other donor nations "to do their part," by supporting and strengthening the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

America must also continue its leadership role in global health, she said. "Our efforts advance our national interests. They help make other countries more stable and the United States more secure. And they are an expression of our values - of who we are as a people."

Referring to the ongoing work at NIH and the need for scientific breakthroughs, Clinton declared that "investing in our future is one of the smartest investments we can make."

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