Remarks at PEPFAR Event with South African Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Cullinan Clinic
Johannesburg, South Africa
August 7, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Minister. Well, it is a great honor to be here at this clinic. This clinic represents a partnership and collaboration between the people and government of the United States and the people and government of South Africa. We are proud to support the work that is done here through PEPFAR and USAID.

I also appreciated the conversation that I just had with the minister. It was very specific and very frank about how we can work better together. We have the challenge that everyone is aware of. We have to make up for some lost time, but we are looking forward. And I am very pleased that we have some people here who are willing to talk about their experience at the clinic, because the minister and I can talk and our distinguished guests can talk, but what’s important is what this clinic mean in the lives of the people in this area and what it represents for what can be done for people across South Africa.

Before I turn it over to the doctor to introduce the patients, let me also ask Dr. Eric Goosby, who is our new head of PEPFAR -- Dr. Goosby has extensive and long experience in both treating HIV/AIDS and doing policy on behalf of our government, as well as private donors. And what I thought, Doctor, is that we would hear from the patients, and then perhaps you could say something.

Next to Ambassador Goosby is Congresswoman Nita Lowey. She chairs the committee in the House of Representatives which allocates money for USAID and PEPFAR. And she has traveled extensively, and I am delighted she is here with me to see this example, and to hear what more needs to be done.

And also, at the end, is Congressman Donald Payne, a leading member of the United States Congress on behalf of issues affecting Africa; and Assistant Secretary for African Affairs in the State Department, Secretary Johnnie Carson.

So, let me now turn it over to the doctor and have the patients speak in their own words. Oh, yes.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Minister, could I just ask Dr. Goosby to perhaps wrap up for us?

DR. GOOSBY: Well, thank you. It's really an honor to have an opportunity to speak to you tonight. To hear the words coming from the hearts of these two wonderful people is very gratifying. And I hope that you are a living example of what the -- living with HIV is all about, that you don't stop living. It's the beginning of your life, from this moment forward, as you so beautifully both spoke to.

It's an honor for us to participate with the government in supporting this effort, in looking to the potentials unrealized now being realized. And it is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge that and look to further attempts by the government to put a coordinating effort in place that allows us to take full advantage of the divergent resources that converge on countries and need the leadership and wisdom of the government to understand how best to use those resources efficiently.

So, we remain committed. It's a pleasure. And I thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Any questions, real quick? Because we have to leave, since it's getting dark.

QUESTION: Just briefly --

SECRETARY CLINTON: About this issue. Can we talk about this issue? Good, good.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: The question is, are we satisfied with the current levels of funding for PEPFAR and the global fund? And I will ask Nita Lowey to come up.

But, you know, the United States government is evidencing a bipartisan commitment to PEPFAR. Certainly the prior administration was very committed. The Obama administration has said that we want to not only target HIV/AIDS, but do it efficiently, and fulfill our commitment to the amount of money that was appropriated before and add to it. And that's what we intend to do.

Nita, do you want to add?

MS. LOWEY: Just in addition to what the Secretary has said, and what we talked about before, coordination of all the monies that come into the communities is really essential.

What is happening in too many countries is we will appropriate, really, record numbers in PEPFAR. And we hope to increase that. But then you have many foundations coming in. You have the corporate sector coming in. And so we have to use every dollar efficiently.

And I would like to make one other point, which the Secretary mentioned before, and mentions over and over again. At one point, the number of cases of HIV and AIDS was decreasing. We have seen it increasing again. And what the Secretary and I really want to do, in cooperation with all our partners, is invest some dollars in prevention. How can we prevent the increase in cases?

So, while we are increasing money for treatment, while we are increasing money for testing, we would like to invest in prevention, so that the curve bends and starts going down, rather than going up.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much.


PRN: 2009/T11-16