Former President Clinton, Nelson Mandela Discuss AIDS Awareness with Young People in South Africa
Former President Bill Clinton and former South African President Nelson Mandela on Saturday addressed a group of young people in Orange Farm, South Africa, to improve AIDS awareness and prevention, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports. Clinton told members of the group that they "represent the two things I believe are critical to all of Africa's future" -- HIV prevention and community action among young people (Kraft, AP/Sacramento Bee, 9/29). "I am here today because I want young people to take responsibility for themselves and [turn] the tide against HIV. The HIV/AIDS problem to me is the most heartbreaking problem in the world because no one has to die of AIDS," Clinton said (Xinhua News, 9/28). Mandela said that South Africa must prevent HIV transmission, adding, "If we can dramatically reduce the rate of HIV infection among [young people] we will have a real prospect of substantially curtailing the projected scale of the epidemic" (South African Press Association, 9/28). Mandela said that young people also must work against the stigma associated with HIV and must communicate with each other and their parents about "responsible sexual behavior" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 9/29). Mandela and Clinton delivered their remarks at an event to celebrate a new partnership between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and loveLife, South Africa's national HIV prevention program. Mandela praised the financial support that the South African government has provided for loveLife (South African Press Association, 9/28). He also commended the South African businesses that have decided to offer antiretroviral treatments to their HIV-positive employees but said that South Africa must provide broader public access to the medicines (Kraft, Associated Press, 9/28). Clinton added, "We have not done enough to demand leaders like me to give the people the medicine and the care, the treatment they need" (Schuettler, Reuters, 9/28).
A kaisernetwork.org HealthCast of the meeting will be available online later this week.
Spacey Urges U.S. Attention
Clinton made the address on Saturday as part of a five-day tour with actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker through Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Mozambique and South Africa to promote AIDS awareness. Spacey, on his visit to Africa, said that he "despaired at the ravages caused by AIDS" on the continent and urged U.S. attention to the problem. "HIV/AIDS is the single most important issue facing the world today. If we don't begin to tackle this one, then it doesn't much matter what else we try to do because we are going to be faced with a devastating plague that would wipe out generations," he said (Guelph Mercury, 9/28).