World Aids Day 2011

Sandra Appiah December 01, 2011

World Aids Day 2011

As today marks World Aids Day 2011, U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Jerry P. Lanier invites the global community to take a different approach and outlook on the epidemic that continues to take many lives and destroys families and communities, especially in African countries.

"Every year, World Aids Day invites us to reflect on lives lost, and lives forever changed, as a result of Aids. Although we have come a long way in the fight against HIV/Aids, this is still a global epidemic, and 34 million HIV-positive people in the world need our continued attention and commitment to stay alive.

The theme for World Aids Day 2011 is "Re-engaging leadership for effective HIV prevention." I applaud this theme, since it is only through greater local leadership that we can win the fight against HIV. And so, in solidarity with Uganda, today we recommit ourselves to that fight, and to the struggle to create an Aids-free generation. We ask Ugandans to do the same.

While our work has saved countless lives in Uganda, the epidemic remains a national crisis. 1.2 million Ugandans are HIV-positive, including 150,000 children. Over 1.2 million children have been orphaned by Aids. Last year, 64,000 Ugandans died from Aids and 124,000 were infected with the virus. Aids remains the number one cause of death for Ugandan women. Over 540,000 Ugandans need antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and about 290,000 receive them. While this is a vast improvement from a decade ago, Uganda cannot afford to become complacent; only one in four Ugandans infected with HIV receives ARVs.

n November 8, 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton challenged all of us to create an Aids-free generation. "Combination prevention" will help us transform this dream of an Aids-free generation into a reality. Combination prevention focuses on eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission, on expanding safe medical male circumcision for HIV prevention, and on scaling up treatment for people living with HIV/Aids. These efforts must be combined with providing condoms, counseling and testing, and other effective prevention interventions.

Achieving an Aids-free generation will require re-engaged leadership at all levels. Last week, I addressed 65 MPs from the Uganda Women Parliamentarian's Association, asking them to ensure that their government commits to providing the skilled health workers, hospitals and clinics, and healthcare systems to meet their constituents' needs.

Although the United States remains committed to current programs to provide ARVs, research, and prevention programs, we realize that we must also do more. That is why President Obama recently established the Global Health Initiative to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our work. Our first efforts will be to explore effective and efficient ways to dramatically reduce deaths among women giving birth and end mother-to-child HIV transmission in Uganda.

Despite difficult economic times, the United States will continue to play a leadership role in the global fight against Aids. Nevertheless, the American people cannot – and should not – be the sole supporters of prevention, care, and treatment. The Government of Uganda must significantly increase its financial and administrative support for both HIV/Aids and for the general health care of its own citizens.

Today, we recognise how far we all have come in turning the tide against HIV, while acknowledging the distance we still must travel. On World Aids Day 2011, the United States stands united with Uganda. With science as the roadmap and re-engaged Ugandan leadership at all levels, let us renew our combined efforts to reach our common goal of an Aids-free generation."


Credit: The Monitor (Uganda)

Last Edited by: Updated: June 19, 2018


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