Hillary Clinton: Creating an AIDS-Free Generation

The Secretary of State recently discussed new initiatives in the fight against HIV and AIDS; she appoints Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson

During a speech yesterday at the National Institutes of Health’s Masur Auditorium in Bethesda, Maryland, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed what she’s poised to do to make a significant difference in the fight against AIDS in America and around the world. “The fight against AIDS began three decades ago in June 1981,” said Clinton. “American scientists reported the first evidence of a mysterious new disease. It was killing young men by leaving them vulnerable to rare forms of pneumonia, cancer, and other health problems. Now, at first, doctors knew virtually nothing about this disease. Today, all those years later, we know a great deal.”

AIDS has already killed more than 30 million people globally in the last three decades, and it’s estimated that 34 million are living with HIV today.

“Thirty years later, we also know a great deal about the virus itself,” she explained. “We understand how it is spread, how it constantly mutates in the body, how it hides from the immune system. And we have turned this knowledge to our advantage—developing ingenious ways to prevent its transmission and dozens of drugs that keep millions of people alive. Now, AIDS is still an incurable disease, but it no longer has to be a death sentence. Finally, after 30 years, we know a great deal about ourselves. The worst plague of our lifetime brought out the best in humanity. Around the world, governments, businesses, faith communities, activists, individuals from every walk of life have come together, giving their time, their money—along with their heads and hearts—to fight AIDS.”

She said that using research and education, the Obama Administration would like to usher in an “AIDS-free generation,” or one in which no children are born with the virus, and steps are taken to reduce the risk of infection later in life through education. She also wants to make drugs available to those who are infected to prevent them from passing it to others.

Clinton also named talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as a special envoy for global AIDS awareness. “Your words will encourage Americans in joining you to make their voices heard in our campaign to achieve an AIDS-free generation,” Clinton wrote in a letter to DeGeneres this week. “The enormous platform of your television show and your social media channels will enable you to reach millions of people with the strong and hopeful message that we can win this fight.”

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