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Saving Lives is dedicated to raising awareness of HIV, HIV testing – and the challenges we face in diagnosing, treating and stopping the spread of HIV. Few events can provide as many headlines that achieve that aim, surely, than a former US president addressing the world’s leading HIV conference.
Bill Clinton’s keynote at AIDS 2014 in Melbourne began with a tribute to the delegates on flight MH17, including Joep Lange, about whom Clinton has written on the <a href=”https://www.clintonfoundation.org/press-releases/statement-president-clinton-death-joep-lange”>Clinton Foundation’s website</a>. The best tribute to them, he suggested, was for everyone in the room to continue their work.
Clinton spoke of the real opportunity we have to secure an AIDS-free generation, and also addressed the obstacles in the way of that goal: “We need to redouble our efforts to combat stigma and prejudice,” he said. “Unbelievably, stigma is on the rise in some places.”
He also made the important point, championed by Saving Lives, that the best means of fighting HIV is diagnosing it – and treating it. “We know treatment is the most effective tool we have to fight Aids,” he said. “New data suggests 70% of HIV-related deaths could have been prevented if all countries had coverage rates as high as Botswana’s.
“But we could all do better in terms of quantity and quality of treatment.”
That’s a real call to action: reducing stigma, increasing testing and treatment, saving lives.<br /><br />