Just six months ago on World AIDS Day, President Obama took a bold step forward for global health by using seven powerful words — “the beginning of the end of AIDS” — in his public remarks and by outlining specific, time-bound treatment and prevention targets for the US to achieve.
Thanks to President Obama’s words, the groundwork was laid for the US to continue its historic, bipartisan leadership in the global fight against HIV. With our marching orders set and the vision clearly outlined, the US segment of our AIDS campaign this year will push our members of Congress to make good on the President’s commitment toward the beginning of the end of AIDS. To make sure we hit these targets, we’re asking for them to ensure no cuts to PEPFAR and to fulfill of our pledge to the Global Fund.
I know first-hand that this vision is a powerful one that resonates with Americans across the country. I was recently in Los Angeles for an event with our partners at EGPAF, helping to staff a ONE and (RED) booth built around our AIDS campaign work. Throughout the day, hundreds of parents and their children stopped by, but one man in particular stuck with me. After leaving our booth, he returned back five minutes later and said to me with such enthusiasm: “the beginning of the end of AIDS…wow. I’m just so excited that we can start saying those words.”
If there’s anything we know as advocates and storytellers, it’s that words have meaning and power. And after three decades of the AIDS pandemic and the wreckage it has caused in communities around the world, it’s goosebump-inducing and inspiring to think that with the right leadership, we could see the beginning of the end.
So across the world — in both donor and recipient nations — we will be asking leaders to step up and outline what specific steps they will take so that, together, we can see the beginning of the end of AIDS. The status quo is no longer good enough in our fight against AIDS, because we have major milestones to hit along the way: 15 million people on treatment, a virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and a drastic reduction in new HIV infections. We need governments to rise to the occasion, committing to not just continue their current work but to scale up their efforts to truly break the back of this pandemic once and for all.
We hope you join us in calling on your leaders to turn these inspiring words into action, starting this week!