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[e-drug] Al Gore's in the UN Security Council on AIDS drugs

E-DRUG: Al Gore's in the UN Security Council on AIDS drugs
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[copied from Pharm-Policy with thanks; WB]

The following is the full text of Vice-President Al 
Gore's speech before the UN Security Council Session on Aids in 
Africa on January 10, 2000.

A brief excerpt precedes the full text:

"       We are also committed to helping poor countries gain access to
affordable medicines, including those for HIV/AIDS.  Last month, the
President announced a new approach to ensure that we take public health
crises into account when applying U.S. trade policy.  We will cooperate
with our trading partners to assure that U.S. trade policies do not
hinder their efforts to respond to health crises."


U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL SESSION ON AIDS IN AFRICA 

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Vice President

For  Immediate Release                                   Contact:
Monday, January 10, 2000                                (202)
456-7035

        REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY BY VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE 
              
        U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL SESSION ON AIDS IN AFRICA

     Mr. Secretary General, Members of the Security Council,
Distinguished Guests, and, in particular, Honored Delegates from the
Nations of Africa:

     "HIV/AIDS is not someone else's problem. It is my problem.  It is
your problem.  By allowing it to spread, we face the danger that our
youth will not reach adulthood.  Their education will be wasted.   The
economy will shrink.   There will be a large number of sick people whom
the health will not be able to maintain."

     Mr. Secretary and Members of the Council: These are not my words. 
They were not uttered in the United States or the United Nations.  They
were spoken by my friend, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, as he
declared South Africa's Partnership Against
AIDS more than a year ago.  The same words should be spoken out not only
in South Africa, not only in Africa, but all across the earth.   In
Africa, the scale of the crisis may be greater, the infrastructure
weaker, and the people poorer, but the threat is real for every people
and every nation, everywhere on earth.  No border can keep AIDS out; it
cuts across all the lines that divide us.  We owe ourselves and each
other the utmost commitment to act against AIDS on a global scale -- and
especially where the scourge is greatest.

     AIDS is a global aggressor that must be defeated.

     As we enter the new millennium, Africa has crossed the first
frontiers of momentous progress.  Over the past decade, a rising wave of
African nations has moved from dictatorship to democracy, embraced
economic reform, opened markets, privatized enterprises,
and stabilized currencies.  More than half the nations of Africa now
elect their own leaders -- nearly four times the number ten years ago --
and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa has tripled, creating
prospects for a higher quality of life across the continent.
        

        Tragically, this progress is imperiled, just as it is taking
hold,  by
the spread of AIDS which now grips 20 million Africans.   Fourteen
million have already died -- one quarter of them children.  Each day in
Africa, 11,000 more men, women, and children become HIV positive -- more
than half of them under the age of 25.

     For the nations of sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS is not just a
humanitarian crisis.  It is a security crisis -- because it threatens
not just individual citizens, but the very institutions that define and
defend the character of a society.  
     
        This disease weakens workforces and saps economic strength.  
AIDS
strikes at teachers, and denies education to their students.  It strikes
at the military, and subverts the forces of order and peacekeeping.

     The United States is profoundly moved by the toll AIDS takes in
Africa.   At the same time, we know that our own country has not
achieved as much as we should or must in our own battle against AIDS.  I
am pleased that our Surgeon General is here today; his recent report
tells us that we have not overcome the ignorance and indifference that
lead to infection.  We must continue to study the success of others,
while we seek to share our progress with them.

     As Vice President, I have journeyed four times to sub-Saharan
Africa.  I have taken along top health officials, AIDS specialists,
corporate leaders, and physicians.   We have
spent long hours with African leaders, heard their ideas, and discussed
their difficulties with the fateful crisis of AIDS.

     It is inspiring to see so many in Africa -- not only leaders, but
health care workers and community workers, mothers and fathers, and
countless ordinary citizens -- fighting to save the lives of the people
they love.  Ten years ago, Uganda was suffering the world's highest
infection rates.  Today -- because the whole nation has mobilized to end
stigma, urge prevention, and change behavior -- Uganda is now recording
dramatic drops in the infection rate.  Uganda, which used to be proof of
the problem, is now powerful proof that we can turn the tide against
AIDS.

     We know that the first line of defense against this disease is
prevention.  And prevention depends on breaking down the barriers
against discussing the extent and risks of AIDS.  That is one purpose of
this historic Security Council meeting.  Today, in sight of all the
world, we are putting the AIDS crisis at the top of the world's security
agenda.  We must talk about AIDS not in whispers, in private meetings,
in tones of secrecy and shame. 
We must face the threat as we are facing it right here, in one of the
great forums of the earth -- openly and boldly, with urgency and
compassion.  Until we end the stigma of AIDS, we will never end the
disease of AIDS.

     We also must do much more to provide basic care and treatment to
the growing number of people who, thank God, are living, instead of
dying, with HIV and AIDS.  This requires
affordable medicine, but also more than medicine; it requires that we
train doctors, nurses, and home-care workers, that we develop clinics
and community-based organizations to deliver
care to those who need it.  Today, fewer than 5 percent of those living
with AIDS in Africa have access to even basic care.  We know we can
prolong life, reduce suffering, and allow mothers with AIDS to live
longer with their children, if we offer treatment for opportunistic
infections like tuberculosis and malaria.

     Our ultimate goal, our best hope, is to prevent AIDS by
vaccination, and we are committed to the maximum possible research.  But
we need to do more to harness the talent and power of the private
sector.   In September, in his speech to the General Assembly, President
Clinton said it was wrong that only two percent of all biomedical
research is directed to the major killer diseases in the developing
world.   He pledged America to a new effort to speed the development and
delivery of vaccines for AIDS, malaria, TB, and other illnesses that
disproportionately afflict the poorest nations.

     This three-part strategy of prevention, treatment, and research is
the right fight.  And the United States has contributed more than a
billion dollars to wage it worldwide --
more than half of that for sub-Saharan Africa.   But we must do more.

     Last year, I announced the largest-ever increase in the U.S.
commitment to international AIDS programs -- $100 million to fight AIDS
in Africa, India, and other areas.

     Today, I announce America's decision to step up the battle.  The
budget the Clinton-Gore Administration will send to our Congress next
month will include an additional increase of $100 million for a total of
$325 million to fund our worldwide fight against AIDS.  This new funding
will include efforts:

     --To reduce the stigma and prevent the spread of AIDS;

     --To reduce mother-to-child transmission;

     --To support home and community based care for people with
AIDS;

     --To provide care for children orphaned by AIDS;

     --And to strengthen health infrastructure to prevent and treat of
AIDS.
    
        I would also like to announce here this morning that the budget
we will
send to our Congress next month will include $50 million for the United
States' contribution to the Vaccine Fund of the Global Alliance for
Vaccines and Immunizations.  This contribution -- in fulfillment of the
promise President Clinton made to the General Assembly -- will help fund
the research, purchase, and distribution of lifesaving vaccines in
developing
nations.

     I am also announcing today an initiative for an expanded
public-private partnership in the battle against AIDS.  Indeed, in the
coming months, I will convene a meeting of U.S. business leaders active
in Africa, to develop a set of voluntary principles for corporate
conduct to make the workplace an effective place for the education and
prevention of AIDS.  Let us also set this goal: through public and
private efforts, in partnership with partner nations, we will attack the
cycle of infection at one critical point -- its most heartbreaking point
-- the moment of mother-to-child transmission.

     In addition, I announce that our budget request for next year will
--for the first time ever -- offer specific funding for the U.S.
military to work with the armed forces of other nations to combat AIDS. 
Inside our own country, our armed forces have acted effectively to
prevent the spread of AIDS in the military.  Secretary of Defense Cohen
is ready to share our experience with our military counterparts in
Africa.

     We are also committed to helping poor countries gain access to
affordable medicines, including those for HIV/AIDS.  Last month, the
President announced a new approach to ensure that we take public health
crises into account when applying U.S. trade policy.  We will cooperate
with our trading partners to assure that U.S. trade policies do not
hinder their efforts to respond to health crises.

     But to win the ongoing global battle against AIDS, we must also
fight the poverty that speeds its spread.  In June, in Cologne, we
joined with our G-7 partners in the Cologne Debt
Initiative, a landmark commitment to faster and deeper debt relief for
the heavily-indebted poor countries.

     We will continue to engage our G-7 partners to bring greater
resources to this effort.  Today I challenge the world's wealthier,
healthier nations to match America's increasing
commitment to a worldwide crusade against AIDS.

     But more money is not enough.  We must also make sure that more
money has more impact.  Next July, the global community will gather in
Durban, South Africa for the 13th International AIDS Conference.   There
are many inspiring efforts to fight AIDS all around the world.  Right
now, they amount to many isolated efforts, not a single focused
assault.  We must knit together the separate initiatives by local,
national, regional, and global
organizations, to take maximum advantage of their synergy and success. 
We will work with the organizers of the Durban Conference to advance
this essential objective.  It is essential, because how we speed the
money, and how effectively we target it, not just how much we spend,
will determine how many lives we save.

     AIDS is one of the most devastating threats ever to confront the
world community.  Many have called the battle against it a sacred
crusade.

     The United Nations was created to stop wars.  Now, we must wage an
win a great and peaceful war of our time -- the war against AIDS.   For
all, here and around the world, willing to enlist in this cause, let us
hear and heed and take heart from the words of an African poet, Mongane
Wally Serote:

     "remember
     the passion of our hearts
     the blinding ache and pain
     when we heard the hysterical sobs
     of our little children crying against fate ....

     we heard these, we knew them, we absorbed them
     but we surged forward
     knowing that life is a promise, and that that promise is us..."

     That promise is us.   We here in this room -- representing the
billions of people of the world -- we must become the promise of hope
and of change.   We must become the promise of life itself.  We have the
knowledge, the compassion, and the means to make a difference.  We must
acknowledge our moral duty and accept our great and grave responsibility
to succeed.

     We must make the promise and keep the promise to prevail against
this disease -- so that when the story of AIDS is told to future
generations, it will be a tale not just of human tragedy but of human
triumph.  And the moral of that story will be the capacity of the human
spirit to summon us in common cause, to defeat a common foe, and secure
the health and hopes of so many of our fellow human beings.

     May God bless all who have suffered from this disease.  May God
bless the united effort of our united nations to end it -- soon and
forever.



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