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AIDS 2014: An AIDS-free world is just over the horizon

Burnet Institute

23 July, 2014

Former US President Bill Clinton presents at AIDS 2014. Photo courtesy of International AIDS Society/Steve Forrest

Former US President Bill Clinton opened his AIDS 2014 address by paying tribute to colleagues lost on MH17, in particular Professor Joep Lange who helped the Clinton Foundation scale up AIDS treatment and care in Tanzania.

Mr Clinton went on to say we are here celebrating the 20th International AIDS Conference because of the right decision to fight AIDS.

“Stepping up the pace is the perfect theme for this conference. Because we are on a steady march to rid the world of AIDS,” he said.

“The theme says good work has been done and we have proven to others and to ourselves that an end to AIDS is possible. It’s called a conference but really it’s a movement.”

Mr Clinton outlined the Clinton Foundation’s work in scaling up HIV and AIDS treatment to those who need it the most, acknowledging that treatment is the most effective way to fight the epidemic.

He said the Foundation is working with partners to focus on reaching women during pregnancy but trying to stop transmission through breastfeeding is proving difficult.

“We’re getting better at reaching women during pregnancy but after they have had the baby, it’s difficult to get them to come back,” he explained.

“We have to test all exposed infants and link any HIV-positive baby to immediate life-saving treatment.”

Mr Clinton finished his speech saying the tools we need to treat HIV and AIDS to stop its transmission to new patients are all now available.

“The AIDS-free world, that so many of you have worked for so long to build, is just over the horizon, and we just have to step up the pace. Thank you for all you have done.”

AIDS 2014 Local Co-Chair and Head of Burnet’s Centre for Biomedical Research, Professor Sharon Lewin meets Former US President Bill Clinton before his presentation. Photo courtesy of International AIDS Society/Steve Forrest.

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