Humanity needs to work together to defeat AIDS – Gates

She was joined on stage by partner Bill with a huge red AIDS ribbon as a backdrop, and the both called on world leaders to put the power to prevent HIV in the hands of women by accelerating the search for microbicides and other new HIV prevention tools.

Bill Gates said he thought the discovery of an effective microbicide or oral prevention drug to reduce HIV transmission could be ‘€œthe next big breakthrough in the fight against AIDS’€.

The Gates’€™s also called for increased global access to HIV prevention and treatment, and greater advocacy to break the stigma of AIDS.

Bill Gates said there was ‘€œa new sense of optimism’€ in Africa because the world was doing far more than ever before to fight AIDS but he emphasized ‘€œwe have to do a much better job on prevention’€ to avert millions of new HIV infections.

Treatment without prevention is simply unsustainable,’€ he said to loud applause.

He said it should be an ‘€œurgent priority’€ to accelerate research on promising new HIV prevention methods, and that he hoped the discovery and development of an effective microbicide or oral prevention drug could ‘€œmark a turning point in the epidemic’€.

We need tools that will allow women to protect themselves,’€ said Bill Gates.

This is true whether the woman is a faithful, married mother of small children, or a sex worker trying to scrape out a living in a slum. No matter where she lives, who she is, or what she does, a woman should never need her partner’s permission to save her own life.’€

Conference Co-Chair Dr Helene Gayle said she hoped that, 25 years from now, people could ‘€œlook back at AIDS 2006 as a turning point in the epidemic; a moment in history where we saw an opportunity to stem the tide of HIV and chose to act decisively’€.

‘€œThough we face substantial challenges on the road to universal access, momentum is now on our side. We cannot afford to squander this opportunity,’€ she said.

Co-Chair Dr Mark Wainberg warned that ‘€œwith the knowledge and tools to prevent and treat HIV in our hands, history will judge us harshly if we fail to deliver’€.


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