Bill Gates Highlights the Elimination of Pediatric AIDS at Vienna Conference
July 19, 2010
At the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna today, the prevention of new HIV infections in children took center stage. In a session moderated by Foundation President and CEO Chip Lyons, Bill Gates praised the Foundation’s global efforts, and spoke about the urgent need to expand the reach of services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Foundation President and CEO Charles Lyons moderates a
special session with Bill Gates on HIV prevention at
XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna.
In his speech, Gates talked about the need to more efficiently use our resources to fight HIV during the current economic climate. He presented a roadmap to build upon our collective successes, and turn the tide of the pandemic by effectively preventing new infections.
A video presentation prior to Gates’ speech stated, “We can eliminate pediatric AIDS,” and Gates later reiterated that fact.
“Our first task is to scale up the prevention efforts that are cheap, effective, and easy to apply,” he said, adding that “PMTCT and male circumcision were so cheap and effective,” that it was often more expensive not to implement them.
In a question-and-answer session with audience members, Lyons asked Gates what we could do to step up our efforts to prevent new pediatric infections, and how we could move closer to eliminating altogether HIV and AIDS in children.
“It’s outrageous that we haven’t done better on this,” Gates answered. “We need to get countries to set aggressive goals. We need to get the political leaders to recognize the tragedy that this is.”
He added that he was “horrified” that only 45 percent of women currently had access to PMTCT services.
“In terms of cost of the intervention, the impact on the lives involved, that should be something that we have above 90 percent. This is one where, even in the next year, I’d like to see a big change.”
He expressed optimism that this goal was entirely reachable, and acknowledged the Foundation’s pivotal role in making this happen.
“[The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation] is at the forefront” of the fight to scale-up prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
This session was webcast live by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The question-and-answer portion of the session begins at the 38:15 mark.
Robert Yule is the Foundation's Media Manager, based in Washington, D.C., but reporting from Vienna for AIDS 2010.