SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Kerry: U.S. will continue to work toward AIDS-free generation

The U.S. and its international partners will continue to work toward the goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

Kerry made the remarks on Tuesday in Washington during the 10th anniversary celebration for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Kerry detailed the successes made by PEPFAR during the last 10 years, including the largest and most successful foreign assistance program in the world and the provision of HIV testing and counseling for close to 50 million people in 2012. Kerry also announced that PEPFAR was involved in saving the one millionth baby from becoming infected with HIV.

"And as you know, preventing mother-to-child transmission has been a central pillar of our fight against this disease, and just this month we reached the truly landmark moment on the HIV/AIDS timeline," Kerry said. "Imagine what this means - one million babies, like Tatu's daughter Faith, can grow up happy and healthy, go to school, realize their dreams, break out of this cycle, maybe even have sons and daughters of their own, free from the burden and the fear of HIV."

Kerry said that while there was progress in the last 10 years, more must be done to stop the millions of people who become infected and die each year from HIV/AIDS. He said PEPFAR must change to become a more collaborative process with other countries.

"As the progress continues, PEPFAR, over its next decade, will gradually evolve as our fight against this disease evolves, and that is going to happen both by necessity and by design," Kerry said. "Achieving an AIDS-free generation is a shared responsibility and it is going to be a shared accomplishment. That is why PEPFAR is working to gradually and appropriately transfer responsibilities to host countries. This means that PEPFAR will shift from merely providing aid to co-investing in host countries' capacity."

Kerry said the world can come together to overcome AIDS and any other seemingly insurmountable problems.

"What has been achieved here is a lesson for all of us," Kerry said. "And I think it is, in fact, a lesson that people should believe in humanity. To never doubt what we can achieve is one of the lessons of today, to know that we can do the remarkable, that we can find solutions to what seems to be unsolvable, that we can overcome the insurmountable and we can leave politics and ideology at the wayside in order to choose life and possibilities for people everywhere."