President's Message: September 2011
The last several months were vitally important to the Foundation’s goal to eliminate pediatric AIDS, which was highlighted in a variety of important venues.
First, as I’ve mentioned previously
, I was honored to represent the Foundation as a member of the Global Task Team Toward Elimination of New HIV infections in Children and Keeping Their Mothers Alive by 2015. The plan this team produced was well-received by the global health community; world leaders, including former President Bill Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, came forward to lend their full support to the strategy. And there is monetary muscle behind the plan: The United States Government, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson and Johnson, and the Chevron Corporation all pledged new financial commitments towards implementation of the GTT Global Plan.
(Photo: Jon Hrusa)
But it’s time to look forward, and to galvanize the momentum that already exists toward ending pediatric AIDS. A plan—even a thoughtful one that emerges with widespread support—is only the first step. The Foundation is part of the recently formed global steering group that will be instrumental in implementing that plan, especially in these crucial early stages. This cross-cutting group is composed of high-burden and donor countries, implementers, and representatives from civil society, the private sector, and the United Nations, including UNAIDS, UNICEF, WHO, Mothers2Mothers, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, among others. Our task? To make this plan a concrete reality. The Foundation is pleased to play a part in this important group, and that our offer to house its Secretariat has been welcomed. I will continue to keep you apprised of our progress in this important goal.
Also in late July, the Foundation participated in the 6th IAS Conference in Rome, the largest AIDS conference of its kind this year. The Foundation worked to ensure that ending pediatric AIDS and treating children, mothers, and families living with HIV was high on the agenda. Importantly, the Rome conference set the stage for the 19th International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2012, which will take place in Washington, D.C., not far away from the Foundation’s offices. This is the first IAS conference the U.S. has been able to host since the travel ban forbidding entry of HIV-positive individuals into the country was lifted last year. It will be a time to reflect on our history of successes in the U.S., as well as to recommit to addressing our own domestic epidemic.
While these commitments and advances signify remarkable progress, they are simply not enough. Additional resources from governments and private sector donors will be needed to realize the elimination of pediatric AIDS. And as the ongoing US debate on the budget puts renewed focus on funding priorities, this is not the time to lose momentum. I think of the June editorial in the New York Times
that outlined the need for more financial power to continue and expand what it termed “a fight well worth winning.”
And a fight well worth winning it is. I’m proud of the Foundation’s participation and impact in galvanizing the momentum toward ending pediatric AIDS, making a goal that once seemed unattainable within our reach in the not-too-distant future. And I’m thankful for your support as we work to achieve that goal.