Obama Renews U.S. Commitment To Ending AIDS In World AIDS Day Speech

President Barack Obama on Thursday renewed the U.S. commitment to ending HIV/AIDS in a speech marking World AIDS Day, and was joined by former presidents Bill Clinton, who participated by video, and George W. Bush, who spoke from Tanzania with that country’s President, Jakaya Kikwete, the Independent reports (Popham, 12/1). According to the Associated Press, Obama announced U.S. “goal[s] of getting antiretroviral drugs to two million more people around the world by the end of 2013,” bringing the total to six million people, and “to 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent them from passing the virus to their children.” The news agency continues, “Despite Obama’s more ambitious goals,” which build on existing PEPFAR programs, “the plan’s budget is not expected to increase. Instead, officials said the expanded targets would be funded through savings achieved by making the program more efficient and cutting the costs of treatment” (Pace, 12/1).

The event, sponsored by ONE and (RED), will be broadcast live online. In addition, “[l]ater in the day, Gayle Smith, special assistant to the President and senior director for Development and Democracy at the White House, and Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. global AIDS coordinator, will be taking … questions on the global AIDS epidemic and what the Obama administration is doing to bring it to an end,” according to “The White House Blog.” The session will be broadcast live at 2:30pm at WhiteHouse.gov/live and questions can be submitted via Facebook, Twitter using the hashtag #WHChat, or a webform (Sabochik, 11/30). The White House also provides a fact sheet titled, “The Beginning of the End of AIDS” (12/1).