Yesterday, Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Cullinan Clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa, with South African Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi.
The clinic represents a partnership and collaboration between the United States and South Africa, through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and USAID.
In 2003, under the Bush administration, PEPFAR was launched to combat global HIV/AIDS. It was the largest commitment in history, by any nation, to combat a single disease.
Secretary Clinton is on a seven-nation trip to Africa, highlighting the Obama administration’s commitment to making Africa a priority in foreign policy.
Accompanying Secretary Clinton at the the PEPFAR-supported Cullinan Clinic, were Ambassador Eric Goosby, South African Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Congressman Donald Payne, and Secretary Johnnie Carson
Dr. Eric Goosby is the new head of PEPFAR. Dr. Goosby has extensive experience in both treating HIV/AIDS and working on policy on behalf of the US government and private donors.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey chairs the committee in the House of Representatives which allocates money for USAID and PEPFAR.
Congressman Donald Payne is a leading member of the United States Congress on issues affecting Africa.
Johnnie Carson is Assistant Secretary for African Affairs in the State Department.
There was a discussion with Minister of Health, Dr. Motsoaledi, about working better together. While the numbers of reported AIDS cases had been decreasing, the numbers have recently been increasing.
Commenting on the current levels of funding for PEPFAR and the global fund, Secretary Clinton said the US government has a bipartisan commitment to PEPFAR, continuing the Bush administration’s commitment. The Obama administration wants to not only target HIV/AIDS, but do it efficiently, and fulfill the commitment to the amount of money that was appropriated before and also add to it.
Congresswoman Lowey added that coordination of all the monies that come into the communities is essential. She said in many countries, record amounts are to be appropriated in PEPFAR. Many foundations and the corporate sector are also in this space, “And so we have to use every dollar efficiently.”
Both Secretary Clinton and Congresswoman Lowey noted that with the number of HIV and AIDS cases increasing again, more money should be invested in prevention.
Lowey said “So, while we are increasing money for treatment, while we are increasing money for testing, we would like to invest in prevention, so that the curve bends and starts going down, rather than going up”.