Remarks by Ambassador Patricia Haslach at US Mission World AIDS Day Event

Ato Berhanu Feyissa , Director General of the Federal HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Office

Representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian Health Nutrition Research Institute  and Ministry of Women Children and Youth Affairs

Members of the Press

Mission Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today we are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief –PEPFAR – and of our partnership with the Government of Ethiopia in addressing HIV and AIDS.

Ethiopia has demonstrated tremendous success in significantly decreasing the number of new HIV infections.  Over 317,000 people are currently on antiretroviral treatment – transforming their lives and those of their families.

We believe these successes have been achieved through political commitment from the Government of Ethiopia and strong support for prevention, care and treatment programs through both PEPFAR and Global Fund support. On the ground we should also not forget the hard work and dedication of health workers, civil society organizations and communities.

PEPFAR brings together a number of US Government agencies and so I would like to take a moment to highlight the work they do together with Ethiopian Government sector offices, civil society and other stakeholders.

Prevention among most at risk groups and migrant or mobile populations has become a priority in fighting the HIV epidemic so USAID, through its MULU programs, targets commercial sex workers, their clients, other at risk groups and migrant workers in large development and infrastructure projects. The programs educate on how to protect from getting infected with HIV.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides technical assistance to government health facilities to support quality care and treatment. CDC also strengthens the laboratory system in partnership with the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research institute.

USAID is partnering with civil society, the Ministry of Health, Women Children and Youth Affairs, and the Ministry Labor and Social Affairs to provide support for orphans and vulnerable children – who are victims of a disease which, until treatment became readily available, robbed them of their parents and jeopardized their futures.

Ethiopia has a heavy burden of refugees. The U.S. Population and Refugees Office is partnering with UNHCR and the Government of Ethiopia’s Administration of Refugee and Returnee Affairs to reach out to the refugee population with HIV and AIDS services.

Peace Corps health volunteers bring their expertise and enthusiasm to work at the community level in support of HIV/AIDS prevention and care and support activities in the communities where they live, based on a spirit of cooperation and mutual learning.

All these partnerships not only strengthen our bilateral relationship but bring hope to many infected and affected by HIV in Ethiopia.

This Red Ribbon you see here today is an international symbol of the fight against HIV. And one that we are winning – Ethiopia may well be on the way to achieving an AIDS free generation.

After this event, I invite all of you to join me at the Community village, set up inside the Embassy compound, to demonstrate some of the different HIV prevention services provided with the support from the U.S Government.

Thank you.