"On World AIDS Day, more than 30 years after the first cases of this tragic illness were reported, we join the global community once more in standing with the millions of people who live with HIV/AIDS worldwide. We also recommit to preventing the spread of this disease, fighting the stigma associated with infection, and ending this pandemic once and for all." President Barack Obama-World AIDS Day Declaration-November 29, 2012
Twelve years ago, in his closing address to the 2000 International AIDS Conference in Durban, Nelson Mandela issued an impassioned call to arms against the epidemic threatening the life of this continent. He said, "We need -- and there is increasing evidence of -- African resolve to fight this war. Others will not save us if we do not primarily commit ourselves. Let us, however, not underestimate the resources required to conduct this battle. Partnership with the international community is vital."
Beginning in 2004, the United States has made an enormous commitment to partnering with South Africa to fight against this devastating disease. The United States has committed more than R25 billion in the past nine years through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). PEPFAR has supported life-saving anti-retroviral treatment for over 1.6 million South Africans, and has funded prevention, assistance to mothers and orphans, and community-based health programs that have touched the lives of many millions more.
PEPFAR's program in South Africa represents the largest donation one country has ever given to another country to fight a disease.
"As I prepare to depart South Africa after my three years as U.S. Ambassador here, I am able to look back on where we once were and where we are today. Twelve years after Madiba's speech, the international partnership that he envisioned is a reality. Together, we have made extraordinary progress in turning the tide against HIV and AIDS," said U.S.Ambassador to South Africa Donald H. Gips.
On August 8 the U.S. and South Africa signed a ground-breaking agreement that will transition PEPFAR's programs in South Africa to a more sustainable long-term program, working in sync with South Africa to support its own HIV prevention and AIDS treatment goals. The United States is not stepping back in any way from our commitment to stand together with South Africa against HIV and AIDS.