WASHINGTON - To mark World AIDS Day 2011, ONE and (RED) hosted an event today with participation from three current and former U.S. presidents, bipartisan members of Congress, corporate leaders and activists in the fight against AIDS to address how the world could soon reach “the beginning of the end of AIDS” if three key milestones are met. The event, which took place at George Washington University, highlighted the extraordinary progress that has been made in the last 10 years in the fight against global AIDS, and called upon political leaders in the U.S. and around the world to continue building on that momentum to finally end the AIDS pandemic, which has killed a staggering 30 million people over the past 30 years.
The event featured in-person remarks by President Barack Obama as well as live remarks via satellite from President George W. Bush and President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, who were together at the HIV/AIDS ward of the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and President Clinton, who spoke from Orlando, Florida. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital and CNN chief medical correspondent, moderated a panel discussion. Other panel participants taking part in-person at GW included U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL); U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA); Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE and (RED); Alicia Keys, artist and co-founder of Keep a Child Alive (KCA); Dr. Patricia Nkansah-Asamoah, director of PMTCT clinic at Tema Hospital in Accra, Ghana; Florence Ngobeni, HIV educator and ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation; Kay Warren, founder of the HIV & AIDS Initiative, Saddleback Church; and Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company which announced its partnership with (RED) today. Carlos Slim, chairman of Telmex, also joined by satellite from Mexico City to announce his company’s partnership with (RED) to drive corporate dollars into the fight against AIDS.
Through a partnership with YouTube, the event was live streamed on ONE’s official YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/theonecampaign, where it is now available for on-demand viewing. The panelists responded to questions from the moderator, as well as to a selection of questions submitted by citizens on YouTube.
As part of today’s event, participants called on political leaders, activists, faith leaders and the business world to come together to help meet three milestones by 2015 that, together, could usher in ‘the beginning of the end of AIDS’:
- Virtually eliminate mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of AIDS by 2015
- Provide access to treatment for 15 million people by 2015
- Implement innovative prevention techniques to drastically reduce new infections by 2015
Progress, Proof and Promise
Thirty years ago the first cases of a new virus, HIV, and the disease it caused, AIDS, were discovered. The disease quickly reached pandemic proportions, sweeping across Africa and other parts of the world. In the poorest parts of Africa the impact of AIDS has been devastating, wiping out adult populations and creating a generation of AIDS orphans. Dozens of nations across the continent were crippled by the lost intellect, creativity and workforce vital to the development of viable economies.
It was not until the advent of life-saving ARV therapy that light appeared at the end of the tunnel, at least for those who could access the medication. Treatment was almost entirely unavailable to the poorest of the poor ten years ago, until world leaders, in response to pressure from activists, decided to step up and expand access to treatment in the world’s poorest countries. The United States, in particular, led the way creating the landmark PEPFAR program, which worked hand-in-hand with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Thanks to these and other programs, today:
- In Africa, there are more than 5 million people on life-saving AIDS treatment, up from 50,000 people in 2002.
- Mother-to-child transmission of HIV can be prevented in up to 98% of cases when HIV positive mothers get access to needed treatment.
The U.S. commitment has been shared by both Republicans and Democrats. President Bush launched a historic program to tackle the AIDS pandemic when he committed $15 billion to create the PEPFAR program, announcing it in his 2003 State of the Union address. President Clinton scaled up domestic response in the early 1990s and since leaving office his Health Access Initiative has convinced major drug companies to dramatically lower the price of AIDS medication for people living in poor countries, allowing millions more to be put on treatment. President Obama has continued this policy and expanded U.S. commitment to the Global Fund and better integrated other health needs.
Other World AIDS Day Events:
(2015)QUILT and (RED) Landmark Lightings Raise Public Awareness, Encourage Action
To help raise public awareness and encourage action, ONE and (RED) joined together this week to launch the (2015)QUILT (www.2015quilt.com) – a digital AIDS quilt designed to bring people from all over the world together to fight for a historic achievement – the delivery of the first AIDS free generation in the more than 30 years since the virus was first diagnosed. The (2015)QUILT, which draws its inspiration from the internationally celebrated AIDS Memorial Quilt lets people express their support for the fight against AIDS and encourages them to make a specific commitment that will help bring about the beginning of the end of the epidemic.
Anyone can create a panel by using the simple online tool and then share it with their friends and family through Facebook, Twitter and Google+. A broad spectrum of well-known leaders in entertainment, media and politics have already signed up to be part of the (2015)QUILT, including Tyra Banks, Tom Brady, The Jonas Brothers, Gisele Bundchen, Christy Turlington Burns, Barbara Bush, Chelsea Clinton, Coldplay, My Darkest Days, Ellen DeGeneres, Estelle, A Fine Frenzy, Zach Galifianakis, Arianna Grande, Amy Grant, Ashley Greene, Josh Groban, Jenna Bush Hager, Paris Hilton, Perez Hilton, Kate Hudson, Jessie J., Kerli, The Killers, Annie Lennox, Jane Lynch, Maroon 5, Sienna Miller, Brandy Norwood, Jamie Oliver, Parachute, Snow Patrol, Sean Paul, The Black Eyed Peas, Simple Plan, Jeremy Piven, Gabourey Sidibe, Martha Stewart, Neon Trees, Yu Tsai, U2, Anne V., Pete Wentz and Oprah Winfrey.
In related news, (RED) announced that more than 25 iconic landmarks across 8 countries will turn the color red on World AIDS Day to help bring attention to the fight against AIDS at a local level. Select cities are showing their support by hosting local events, including: Sydney, Australia (Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge), Hong Kong, China (Former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower & The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts), Cape Town, South Africa (Table Mountain), London, UK (The London Eye), Dublin, Ireland (The Mansion House), Toronto, Canada (the CN Tower), Brasilia, Brazil (the Congress Building), New York, New York (the Empire State Building, the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ screens in Times Square), Dallas, Texas (the Joule Hotel), Portland, Oregon (the Morrison Bridge), Atlanta, Georgia (City Hall), Chicago, Illinois (the Wrigley Building), Providence, Rhode Island (the Rhode Island State House and over 10 buildings in downtown Providence), Washington D.C. (the Hirshhorn Museum), San Francisco, California (Ghiradelli Square, City Hall and the JW Marriott), Miami, Florida (the Fountainebleau Hotel), Salt Lake City, Utah (the City & County Building), Atlantic City, New Jersey (Harrah’s Casino).
ONE is a global grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 2.5 million people that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressing political leaders to support smart, effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. ONE has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Abuja, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Johannesburg. For more information please visit www.ONE.org.
About (RED)TMand (PRODUCT)REDTM
(RED) engages business and consumer power in the fight against AIDS. To date, (RED) partners and events have generated over $180 million for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This money has supported HIV/AIDS programs that have reached more than 7.5 million people affected by AIDS in Africa. Current (PRODUCT)RED Proud Partners include: American Express (UK only), Apple, Beats by Dr. Dre, Belvedere, Bugaboo, Converse, Dell, Gap, Nike, Penfolds and Starbucks and Special Edition partners include: Girl Skateboards, Nanda Home, Shazam, Solange Azagury-Partridge and Timbuk2. Companies whose products take on the (PRODUCT)RED mark contribute a significant percentage of the sales or portion of the profits from that product to the Global Fund. On World AIDS Day 2010, (RED) launched “The AIDS Free Generation is Due in 2015″ campaign. (RED) is joining the global health community in raising funds and awareness to help eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015 and helping to realize the first AIDS-free generation in nearly thirty years. Learn more at www.joinred.com.