Hillary Clinton Denounces International Homophobia in AIDS Address

“Obviously, our efforts are hampered whenever
discrimination or marginalization of certain populations results in
less effective outreach and treatment. So we will work not only to
ensure access for all who need it, but also to combat
discrimination more broadly. We have to stand against any efforts
to marginalize and criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT
community worldwide.”
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

Remarks on The Administration’s Efforts on
This address is cross posted at www.state.gov

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, DC
November 30, 2009

As Valerie Jarrett leaves, I want to thank her for her leadership
on this and so many issues here in the White House and in the
Administration, and for her personal testimony as to the importance
of this issue for her, for President Obama, for all of us.We are
gathered on the eve of World AIDS Day to renew and recommit ourselves.
It is obvious to those sitting in this audience, as I look out at
you and see people who have been involved in this struggle for a
long time, that you know that we have made progress, but we face an
unending pandemic, one that spares no one, that unfortunately,
disproportionately affects the most vulnerable, and which is the
defining health challenge of our times. And we have to address it
through a series of broad and cross-cutting global partnerships and
a whole-of-government approach. And that is exactly what we are
attempting to do.We know the ravages and complexities of HIV/AIDS
here in our own country, and we know, many of us, what it looks
like around the world. But we can take some heart in the progress
that has been made over the last two decades. Access to
antiretroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries has
risen tenfold in the last five years. New HIV infections have
fallen by 17 percent over the last eight years. And much of that
progress has been due to the concerted efforts of the United States
Government and our partners.

I want to applaud President Bush for making a serious commitment to
American leadership in combating HIV/AIDS. His administration
spearheaded the creation of PEPFAR – the President’s Emergency
Plan for AIDS Relief. And by supporting its implementation and
activities, the United States has made the largest effort in
history by any nation to combat a single disease. I remember well
serving as a senator from New York how there was bipartisan support
on behalf of this initiative, and the extraordinary commitment of
dollars and technical assistance that backed it up.

PEPFAR has provided lifesaving antiretroviral treatment to over 2
million men, women, and children worldwide, through partnerships
with other governments and NGOs. We’ve supported care for more
than 10 million people, including 4 million orphans and vulnerable
children. And PEPFAR’s efforts to prevent mother-to-child
transmission have helped nearly 240,000 HIV-positive mothers give
birth to children who are HIV-free. So it is clear that our
nation’s investments are having an impact. And President Obama is
dedicated to enhancing America’s leadership in the fight against
global AIDS with PEPFAR serving as the cornerstone of our Global
Health Initiative to promote better and more sustainable health

Later this week, Ambassador Goosby will present the five-year
strategy for the future of PEPFAR outlining the important role that
PEPFAR will play in transitioning from emergency response to
sustainable health systems that help meet the broad medical needs
of people with HIV and the communities in which they live. In its
next phase, PEPFAR programs will support a comprehensive,
whole-of-government approach in many countries to increase
awareness, reduce stigma, and get services to people at earlier

Obviously, our efforts are hampered whenever discrimination or
marginalization of certain populations results in less effective
outreach and treatment. So we will work not only to ensure access
for all who need it, but also to combat discrimination more
broadly. We have to stand against any efforts to marginalize and
criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT community worldwide.
It is an unacceptable step backwards – (applause) – on behalf
of human rights. But it is also a step that undermines the
effectiveness of efforts to fight the disease worldwide.

We will also redouble our efforts to address the needs of women and
girls who are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS in many parts
of the world. Promoting the health of women strengthens families
and communities and has positive spillover effects in areas like
poverty reduction and education. Since we know the most effective
health programs are integrated with functioning local and national
governments, we will work with partner governments to assess
capacity, identify gaps, and make customized plans to meet each
country’s needs.

Now, that means creating more programs like the ones that
Ambassador Goosby and I visited in Africa over the summer. In
Angola, for example, our PEPFAR Partnership Framework supports the
country’s HIV National Strategic plan to strengthen the health
care infrastructure there.

We visited a clinic in South Africa, which we co-sponsor with the
South African Government, and heard from patients who not only
receive care but also support as they face the stigma associated
with HIV and AIDS.

Our investments in PEPFAR, the Global Fund, and overall global
health have made a positive difference. And we will continue our
support, but we have to do more. We have to make sure that our
programs foster conditions that improve people’s lives and, in
turn, promote stability, prosperity, and security.

In this time of very tight budgets in our own government and our
own people suffering from unemployment, from other kinds of
cutbacks in services, we have to do more even here at home. We’ve
seen some of the results of the cutbacks that are happening at the
state and local level. So while we are talking about our commitment
internationally, let’s not forget our fellow citizens who are
suffering right now.

And then we also have to make the case to our fellow citizens that
our investment in dealing with the pandemic worldwide is in
America’s interest. So we are committed to doing so. President
Obama is implementing the repeal of the “HIV entry ban,” a
longstanding policy that prevented people living with HIV/AIDS from
entering our country. The repeal will take effect early in the new
year, and will be vigorously enforcing it.

Today, I am pleased to announce that, with the repeal of the ban,
the International AIDS Society will hold the 2012 International
AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. (Applause.) This conference
will draw together an estimated 30,000 researchers, scientists,
policymakers, healthcare providers, activists, and others from
around the world.

So as we look to 2012, we have to continue to seek a global
solution to this global problem. On World AIDS Day, let us renew
our commitment to ensuring that those infected and affected by
HIV—the woman on treatment who is supporting her family, the
child who dropped out of school to care for sick parents, the
doctors and nurses without adequate resources— that all those who
have joined together to fight this pandemic will someday live in a
world where HIV/AIDS can be prevented and treated as a disease of
the past.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)