President Obama has committed tens of millions of dollars towards finding a cure for HIV.
Obama made the announcement in a speech in Washington on Monday marking World Aids Day.
The president began by highlighting the success in combating HIV and Aids.
“Prevention, treatment and care are now saving millions of lives not only in the world’s richest countries but in some of the world‘s poorest countries as well.
“And for many, with testing and access to the right treatment, the disease that was once a death sentence now comes with a good chance at a healthy and productive life. And that’s an extraordinary achievement,” said Obama.
He applauded America’s PEPFAR programme which has funded lifesaving treatment for 6.7 million people around the world, including in South Africa.
“On my visit to South Africa this year, I visited a clinic run by Bishop Desmond Tutu and had the honour of spending time with some of their extraordinary young patients and counsellors and outreach workers and doctors. Every day, they are doing extraordinary work,” said Obama.
He also said there was much to be done in the US, especially among more vulnerable communities including gay and bisexual men, African-Americans and Latinos.
Obama went on to say: “Today I’m pleased to announce a new initiative at the National Institutes of Health to advance research into an HIV cure.
“We’re going to redirect $100 million into this project to develop a new generation of therapies. Because the United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put HIV into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies – or, better yet, eliminate it completely.”
There have been a number of recent scientific advances that suggest that a cure or a vaccine for HIV may be possible – and various trials and studies are underway around the world.
According to the Washington Blade, Obama’s HIV cure fund will be rolled out over a three year period.