New York, NY – Today is a time to remember lives that have been lost, both known and unknown, and to focus attention on the challenges we still face in the global fight against HIV. Today, there are still 7 million individuals who need treatment – and 5 more people contract HIV every minute.
But it is also a time to recognize those from all corners of the world who have been working tirelessly towards an AIDS-free generation. I’ve been proud and humbled, through my Foundation, to be a part of this global effort. 10 years ago, the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative – now the Clinton Health Access Initiative – was established to help bring lifesaving AIDS drugs to people around the world, at a time when less than 70,000 people were receiving treatment in developing countries. It’s a decade later, and UNAIDS has just released a new report that shows we have made remarkable progress in the fight against AIDS. 10 countries have achieved universal access to treatment. More than 8 million people are on treatment around the world. This kind of progress was unthinkable 10 years ago, but the HIV community – patients and communities, civil society, doctors and nurses, NGOs, Ministries of Health, donors and everyone in between – proved what we can accomplish together.
We should be proud of these accomplishments, but we should also recognize that our fight is far from over. On this World AIDS Day, we all need to recommit to the end of AIDS.
To get there, we need to radically reduce new infections. We need to reach universal access in every last high-burden country. We need to ensure that once people are on treatment, they stay on treatment for life. And yes, we’ll need more money to do it all – but we can also do a lot more with the money we have.
So as we begin a new year, I hope we can honor the memory of those we’ve lost by redoubling our efforts in the fight against HIV. Millions more need and deserve care, and it’s up to us – all of us – to ensure they receive it.