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amfAR Capitol Hill Briefing Convenes Leading Global Health Experts to Chart a Roadmap for Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Worldwide
“Making AIDS History: From Science to Solutions” will focus on recent progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS; discuss the impact of human rights issues in the HIV response; and highlight breakthroughs in HIV prevention, treatment and cure research
NEW YORK, April 29, 2014 —A panel of leading government, research, policy, and advocacy experts will gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss recent progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS both domestically and globally at a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. They will also chart a roadmap for ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Among those scheduled to participate in the briefing, titled “Making AIDS History: From Science to Solutions,” are Anthony Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who will highlight the latest advances in HIV prevention, treatment and cure research; and Kenneth Cole, amfAR’s Chairman of the Board, who will present amfAR’s “Countdown to a Cure,” a new initiative aimed at finding a broadly applicable cure for HIV infection by 2020.
“I’ve been involved in HIV/AIDS activism for almost 30 years now, and I’ve never seen so much optimism in the world of AIDS research. We are closer to a cure for HIV than ever before because we have learned so much in the past few years” said Cole.
“But we must remain relentless in our commitment to do whatever has to be done with whatever resources available to support all efforts needed to find a vaccine and a cure.”
While there is reason to believe that the goal of ending AIDS is within reach – new HIV infection rates are beginning to fall in countries where people have access to HIV treatment and prevention programs – 35 million people are still living with HIV worldwide. In 2012, more than 2.3 million people were infected with HIV and 1.6 million died of AIDS-related causes.
Moreover, infection rates are rising in some parts of the world, especially among vulnerable populations, including men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, transgender people and sex workers who often encounter roadblocks in accessing life-saving services.
“We have made tremendous progress – but there is still so much to do. We are at a critical moment in time – where we can redefine the trajectory of this epidemic,” said Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D., Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator of U.S. Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS, U.S. Department of State. Birx was recently appointed by President Obama to lead the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is currently providing lifesaving HIV treatment to 6.7 million people and is regarded as one of the most successful global health programs in history.
Birx will join Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Jim Kim M.D., Ph.D., World Bank President, in addressing the global HIV/AIDS landscape, and discussing what needs to be done to implement evidence-based strategies in tackling HIV/AIDS, including scaled- up access to HIV treatment and prevention services.
“The response to HIV is deeply intertwined with the eradication of extreme poverty and other pressing development challenges. To be able to end the AIDS epidemic so that it no longer presents a global health threat, we must ensure that no-one is left behind and that everyone in need has access to essential HIV prevention and treatment services,” said Mr. Sidibé.
The briefing will also feature a one-on-one interview between veteran, award-winning journalist Judy Woodruff, Co-Anchor of PBS Newshour, and Paul Farmer, M.D., Co-Founder of Partners in Health and Chair of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine. Dr. Farmer will talk about lessons learned working on the front lines of the epidemic in Rwanda and Haiti, and discuss how the provision of HIV interventions and building health systems can reverse the trajectory of the epidemic.
Douglas Brooks, M.S.W., Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, will provide an update on the government’s efforts to improve the uptake of effective HIV treatment and reduce the number of HIV infections across the United States to achieve the vision and goals of the first National HIV/AIDS Strategy released in 2010.
Members of Congress, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT), and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) will also speak at the briefing.
Leading HIV/AIDS advocates and activists will also participate in a panel discussion, including Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013 and Deborah Derrick, M.P.A., President, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, TB and Malaria.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $388 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 3,300 research teams worldwide.