San Francisco Chronicle Profiles U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

“Dr. Eric Goosby wasted no time starting his new job as the U.S. global AIDS coordinator. He flew from the Bay Area to Geneva hours after his confirmation by the Senate and was sworn in when he landed … The ambassador is approaching his post with the urgency of a clinician who has spent more than 25 years fighting the disease,” the San Francisco Chronicle writes.

As global AIDS coordinator, Goosby “will be stationed at the State Department in Washington and command a $6.3 billion annual budget of U.S. resources devoted to combating the AIDS epidemic that has infected more than 30 million people worldwide. His 78-member staff includes physicians and experts in computer modeling, epidemiology, business and planning,” the San Francisco Chronicle writes. 

In an interview with the newspaper, Goosby said his top priorities include: “education and prevention, slowing the spread of the disease among pregnant women and persuading nations to take on an increasing share of the fight against AIDS.”

In addition, “Goosby identified condom use and the avoidance of high-risk activities such as taking intraveneous drugs as two pillars of education and prevention,” the newspaper writes. We’re “not going to be able to treat ourselves out of the epidemic, and prevention efforts will need to be continued and increased,” Goosby said.

He also emphasized the important role the U.S. could play in assisting poor countries to “develop the capability to not only identify HIV-positive patients but also to ‘stage’ them – determining who needs to be placed on lifelong treatment of powerful antiretroviral drugs that are fraught with side-effects,” the newspaper writes.

Goosby praised the creation of PEPFAR under the Bush administration, which “has spent $25 billion worldwide on AIDS education, prevention and treatment in the past six years,” but signaled there was much work to be done.

“We have seen 33 or 34 million people infected by HIV globally, and 23 million of those are in sub-Saharan Africa,” Goosby said. Outside of Africa, the newspaper writes, “Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China and Southeast Asia are seeing rapid increases of AIDS patients among groups of injection drug users and men having sex with men, Goosby said. To make the fight against AIDS sustainable, he said, the U.S. must encourage poor nations to take a greater role in managing their treatment programs and eventually to increase their financial support for these programs” (Doyle, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/25).

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