With only a few days into the International AIDS Conference 2012, there’s already proof it’s going to be a prolific week. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the U.S. decided to fund the AIDS fight with $150 million, despite the difficult financial times.
The Walter E. Johnson Convention Center in Washington is hosting July 22nd through July 27th the International AIDS Conference. Organizers hope the conference will bring international leaders and experts in the fight against AIDS to conclusions and projects that will be beneficial to the 34.2 million people worldwide currently infected with HIV.
The United States has been intensely working in stopping the AIDS epidemic and the recent $150 million additional funding could eventually reach to AIDS stigmatized populations. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the extra funding: “I am here today to make it absolutely clear the U.S. is committed and will remain committed to achieving and AIDS-free generation”.
Hillary Clinton explained the $150 million will go into helping populations at high risk of HIV infections such as gay and bisexual men, drug users that inject themselves as well as sex workers. This means entering a pretty sensitive territory, but as many other countries have learned, the populations at risk don’t have access to help because of the stigma. “If we’re going to beat AIDS, we can’t afford to avoid sensitive conservations” said Hillary Clinton.
So, the extra $150 million U.S. funding will go into research for HIV prevention tools and campaigns that aim to reach high risk HIV populations. You might say every penny counts, but when looking at last year’s total expenses for fighting HIV/AIDS in poor countries, the $150 million is nothing. Some $16.8 billion were spent last year in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
It’s likely the U.S. will spend much more this year fighting HIV and AIDS. Hillary Clinton’s objective to have an “AIDS-free generation” is not a target that can be easily attained. Despite awareness campaigns, many people either don’t know they’ve been infected or don’t know there’s a treatment for their condition. Some just don’t accept the treatment.
Carlos del Rio, Emory University global health chairman in Atlanta, told BusinessWeek: “We have the worst epidemic of any developed country and part of the reason is that some regions of this country are not a developed country anymore”.