U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the nation's new initiative to eradicate HIV and AIDS on Thursday. Dubbed the "President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation," the initiative is focused on improving both preventative measures and treatment options. Clinton presented PEPFAR during a special news conference in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department.
Clinton's announcement was meant to coincide with World AIDS Day, which is Dec. 1. World AIDS Day was established in 1988 in order to shed light on the disease, its causes, and its prevention and treatment, as well as to push for comprehensive government intervention and research. The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is a continuation of last year's "Getting to Zero."
Here is some of the key information that emerged from Clinton's PEPFAR announcement.
* The State Department had announced Clinton's intention to present the plan in a press release issued on Tuesday.
* The press conference, which was streamed live by the State Department, featured opening remarks by Florence Ngobeni-Allen, who is the ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, as well as remarks by Ambassador Eric P. Goosby, who is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.
* Clinton reportedly had requested that the PEPFAR blueprint be drawn up after her visit to South Africa this past summer.
* As noted by The Hill, The PEPFAR Blueprint establishes several priorities in the nation's fight against AIDS, particularly mother-to-child transmission of HIV, increased access to condoms, and more HIV testing, among other factors.
* Clinton said in her remarks on Thursday that while "HIV may well be with us into the future," AIDS itself "need not be."
* She outlined what she referred to as two "broad goals" of the PEPFAR Blueprint and the nation's fight against AIDS -- to be able to fight new HIV infection rates to the point where globally more people are treated for an existing infection than are newly-diagnosed, and for the U.S. "to deliver" on its promises to continue to help lead the fight against the disease.
* Clinton also said that the nation's fight against AIDS would place more of its global focus on women and girls, as they are at a higher risk of infection due to "gender inequity and violence."
* According to the U.N. News Centre, the U.N. also has plans to mark World AIDS Day. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon reportedly plans to call for more focused initiatives and an ongoing global commitment "to get to zero."
Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in health and nutrition issues.