AIDS 2012 Conference: Hillary Clinton Lauds Circumcision As HIV Preventive In Africa
In a wide-ranging AIDS Conference 2012 opening speech on numerous HIV/AIDS topics, this morning Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the campaign to circumcise adult male Africans as a preventive for HIV infection. An excerpt via White House press release:
- On male circumcision, we’ve supported more than 400,000 procedures since last December alone. And I’m pleased to announce that PEPFAR will provide an additional $40 million to support South Africa’s plans to provide voluntary medical circumcisions for almost half a million boys and men in the coming year. (Applause.) You know and we want the world to know that this procedure reduces the risk of female-to-male transmission by more than 60 percent and for the rest of the man’s life, so the impact can be phenomenal.
- In Kenya and Tanzania, mothers asked for circumcision campaigns during school vacations so their teenage sons could participate. In Zimbabwe, some male lawmakers wanted to show their constituents how safe and virtually painless the procedure is, so they went to a mobile clinic and got circumcised. That’s the kind of leadership we welcome. And we are also seeing the development of new tools that would allow people to perform the procedure with less training and equipment than they need today without compromising safety. And when such a device is approved by the World Health Organization, PEPFAR is ready to support it right away. [snip]
- In addition, we will help many more Zambians get on treatment and support a massive scale-up of male circumcision as well, two steps that, according to our models, will drive down the number of new sexually transmitted infections there by more than 25 percent over the next 5 years. So as the number of new infections in Zambia goes down, it will be possible to treat more people than are becoming infected each year. So we will, for the first time, get ahead of the pandemic there. And eventually, an AIDS-free generation of Zambians will be in sight.
Hillary Clinton To Address AIDS Conference
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will address the opening session of the International AIDS Conference in Washington DC this Monday. Via press release from the White House:The International AIDS Conference is the biennial gathering of AIDS scientists, international policymakers, implementers and people living with AIDS from around the world. AIDS 2012 will take place July 22 - 27 in Washington, D.C. The return of the conference to the U.S. after 22 years is the result of the U.S. government’s elimination of HIV-related entry restrictions. Secretary Clinton’s remarks will be streamed live here. Additional State Department officials will also participate in AIDS 2012 and related events, including Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, who will speak at The Global Fund: The Next 5 Years on Thursday, July 26 at 4:30 p.m. Ambassador Melanne Verveer of the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues and Executive Director of the Secretary’s Global Health Initiative Lois Quam will speak at an event on Turning the Tide for Women at the Museum of Women in the Arts on Wednesday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Former President George W. Bush will also address the conference. While his record on HIV/AIDS was mixed, activists continue to praise Bush for the PEPFAR program, which now provides meds to over four million people around the globe.
US Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton Sends Video Acceptance Message For World Pride Award
USA: Secretary Clinton Delivers A Message To The LGBT Community For Pride Month
USA: Hillary Clinton To Be Honoured With The “World LGBT Award” In London
The Advocate reports:
Hillary Rodham Clinton will be honored with the World LGBT Award at the upcoming World Pride in London, this following the secretary of state’s speech on global gay and transgender rights before the United Nations in December.
Also receiving an award at the event in July is the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Association (IGLA).
Via Pink News:
The award will be presented at the World Pride Gala Dinner, ‘Dine-with-Pride’, a black-tie fundraiser for Pride London.
The event is due to be held on Thursday 5 July 2012 at a five-star hotel in London, Mrs Clinton’s presence at the fundraiser is unconfirmed. World Pride will follow on 7 July.
The fundraiser will support Pride London’s newly created ‘Solidarity Fund’. This will support organisations in the Commonwealth that work with and for the LGBT community to tackle homophobia and transphobia. The evening will be attended by politicians, celebrities and leading figures from the LGBT community.
Read the full article here.
Rachel Maddow: Hillary Clinton’s Speech Was Historic
To watch Clinton’s speech, click here.
Hillary Clinton Appoints Ellen DeGeneres As Global HIV/AIDS Envoy
The Advocate reports:
In a Tuesday address to the National Institutes of Health, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized voluntary male circumcision efforts and mother-to-child transmission reduction efforts as vital to building the foundation for an “AIDS-free generation.”
Clinton also announced that she had named Ellen DeGeneres as a special envoy for global AIDS awareness. “Your words will encourage Americans in joining you to make their voices heard in our campaign to achieve an AIDS-free generation,” Secretary Clinton wrote to DeGeneres in a letter released Tuesday. “The enormous platform of your television show and your social media channels will enable you to reach millions of people with the strong and hopeful message that we can win this fight.”
In the NIH address, Clinton called for increased voluntary male circumcision as well as more support for antiretroviral medication regimens among those infected — both of which contribute to an “ideal intervention that prevents people from being infected in the first place.” Recent studies have shown that HIV-infected individuals taking antiretroviral drugs are substantially less likely to infect sexual partners.
Debates on whether resources should favor either prevention or treatment are irrelevant to the modern-day battle against HIV, Clinton said.
The secretary also called for dramatic reductions in mother-to-child transmissions by 2015: “We can get that number to zero,” she said.
Any goal of eradicating the virus for future generations will require significant and sustained funding — a clear challenge at a time when global economic crises have contributed to a decline in private donations and government HIV/AIDS funding, which dropped nearly 10% worldwide in 2010 compared to the previous year.
But Clinton called on Washington — as well as nations that have the economic means to adequately fund HIV/AIDS programs but have been unwilling to do so — to make such initiatives a priority.
“In these difficult budget times, we have to remember that investing in our future is the smartest investment we can make,” Clinton said.
The secretary also criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality, saying they are an obstacle to effective reduction in infection rates — a sentiment echoed by many HIV experts.
Video of Clinton’s NIH address is available at State.gov.
Responding to her State Department appointment, DeGeneres said in a statement, “I’m honored to have been chosen by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as Special Envoy for Global AIDS awareness. The fight against AIDS is something that has always been close to my heart. And I’m happy that I can use my platform to educate people and spread hope.”
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go look up what ‘envoy’ means,” DeGeneres quipped.
UPDATE: Ellen tweets:
Hillary Clinton On The Future Of HIV
The Advocate reports:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will discuss the future of the AIDS epidemic in a speech on Tuesday at the National Institute of Health.
A press notice from her office indicates Clinton will outline a vision for turning the tide on AIDS, using knowledge gleamed over the past 30 years since the disease was diagnosed. Clinton may address new CDC statistics covering 2006 - 2009 that show that young men (age 13-29) who have sex with men accounted for 27% of all new American HIV infections in those years, while young men of color who sleep with men saw their infection rates skyrocket 48% in those years. As a world leader, Clinton will likely discuss the effect of AIDS on the Third World; 80% of all AIDS deaths now occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
Clinton’s speech will begin at 11 a.m. at the offices of the National Institute of Health in Bethseda, Md.
Hillary Clinton Issues Statement Supporting International Day Against Homophobia
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued a statement supporting today’s International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). Via press release:
In every part of the world, men and women are persecuted and attacked because of who they are or whom they love. Homophobia, transphobia and the brutal hostility associated with them are often rooted in a lack of understanding of what it actually means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). So to combat this terrible scourge and break the cycle of fear and violence, we must work together to improve education and support those who stand up against laws that criminalize love and promote hate. As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17, let us resolve to redouble our efforts.And we stand with YOU, Madame Secretary.
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs. Whether by supporting LGBT advocates marching in Belgrade, leading the effort at the United Nations to affirm the human rights of LGBT persons, or condemning a vile law under consideration in Uganda, we are committed to our friends and allies in every region of the world who are fighting for equality and justice. These are not Western concepts; these are universal human rights.
Despite these gains and hard work, there is more to do to turn the tide of inequality and discrimination against the LGBT community. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, know that the United States stands with you and we are unwavering in our commitment to ending this cycle of hate.
Clinton Condemns Uganda Murder
The Advocate reports:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday condemned the murder of Ugandan LGBT rights activist David Kato and called for a swift and thorough investigation of his death by local authorities.
In a statement, Clinton said Kato’s death “underscores how critical it is that both the government and the people of Uganda, along with the international community, speak out against the discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community.”
Kato was beaten to death with a hammer on Wednesday. TheNew York Timesreports that while law enforcement officials have just begun to investigate the crime, a spokesman did not link the death to Kato’s prominence as a gay rights activist in the virulently antigay country. “It looks like theft, as some things were stolen,” police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said.
Clinton’s statement in full:We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. We urge Ugandan authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act.David Kato tirelessly devoted himself to improving the lives of others. As an advocate for the group Sexual Minorities Uganda, he worked to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. His efforts resulted in groundbreaking recognition for Uganda’s LGBT community, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission’s October 2010 statement on the unconstitutionality of Uganda’s draft “anti-homosexuality bill” and the Ugandan High Court’s January 3 ruling safeguarding all Ugandans’ right to privacy and the preservation of human dignity. His tragic death underscores how critical it is that both the government and the people of Uganda, along with the international community, speak out against the discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community, and work together to ensure that all individuals are accorded the same rights and dignity to which each and every person is entitled.Everywhere I travel on behalf of our country, I make it a point to meet with young people and activists — people like David — who are trying to build a better, stronger future for their societies. I let them know that America stands with them, and that their ideas and commitment are indispensable to achieving the progress we all seek. This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us — and the sacrifices they make. And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons. Our ambassadors and diplomats around the world will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who, with their courage, make the world a more just place where every person can live up to his or her God-given potential. We honor David’s legacy by continuing the important work to which he devoted his life.
Clinton Amends Passport Change
Last December the State Department announced that passport applications would begin using the terms “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” rather than “mother” and “father.” But predictably, anti-gay and Christianist groups have been screaming their heads off and today Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered an amending of the planned change:
The State Department said Saturday that Clinton had instructed the department to retain “mother” and “father” in passport applications as well as in a form known as a “Consular Report of Birth Abroad” that U.S. embassies use to document the birth of a child to expatriate Americans. It said the forms will now ask for the names of the child’s “mother or parent 1” and “father or parent 2.” Gay and lesbian groups had applauded the initial change, which was announced with little fanfare in late December. But conservative groups criticized it as an attack on traditional marriage and family values.