Just over a decade ago, when the Clinton Health Access Initiative joined the fight against the AIDS epidemic, many people believed that it was impossible to make treatment widely available and accessible. The challenges were daunting: in many parts of the world, AIDS drugs were prohibitively expensive; clinics were sparse; doctors and nurses lacked the training they needed to properly care for infected individuals; and effective laboratory and delivery systems were limited.
Today, thanks to the concerted efforts of governments; international organizations such as the Global Fund, PEPFAR, UNITAID, and UNAIDS; civil society groups; NGOs including the Clinton Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and countless others, nearly 10 million more people around the world are receiving the medicines they need to stay alive. We’ve been able to drive the cost of treatment down—in some cases by 90 percent—while simultaneously bringing the quality of care up.
While we celebrate this remarkable progress, much remains to be done. Some in need are still sorely neglected, including pregnant women and children. And the focus has primarily been on treating individuals at a later stage, as opposed to treating early infections or reducing the number of HIV transmissions. At the Clinton Foundation, we remain committed to confronting the AIDS epidemic and renewing our efforts to address existing gaps. Working together with our global partners, I know that we can help bring an end to the AIDS epidemic by preventing millions of new transmissions and helping every last person get the treatment they need.