Angelina Jolie, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Rodham Clinton Call for More Efforts To Fight AIDS at Global Business Coalition Awards
Actress Angelina Jolie, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday at the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS Annual Awards for Business Excellence Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., were on hand to honor six businesses for their contributions to fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic and called for increased efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, the AP/Washington Post reports. Rodham Clinton "drew loud applause" from the crowd when she called on the Bush administration and Congress to acknowledge the importance of condom use in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "There is a great deal of political pressure to only talk about abstinence and to deny support for condoms and education on using them," Rodham Clinton said, adding, "This policy will lead to the unnecessary deaths of many people." She said that women and girls are increasingly at risk of contracting HIV, especially in hard-hit countries. In her remarks to the crowd, Rice said that public-private partnerships are essential in preventing the spread of HIV and praised the bipartisan cooperation in Congress in support of funding prevention programs. Jolie, who is a goodwill ambassador for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, called on countries to pledge more to the cause, saying that the failure to properly address the disease internationally "is a disgrace" (Lester, AP/Washington Post, 9/28). The winners of the 2005 GBC Awards for Business Excellence included Volkswagen South Africa receiving the Workplace Award, Getty Images receiving the Innovation Award, MAC Cosmetics honored for the Core Competency Award, Bristol-Myers Squibb receiving the Community Award, Virgin Unite honored for the Leadership Award, and De Beers receiving the Testing and Counseling Award (GBC release, 9/27).
Interviews With Jolie, GBC Director Neilson, GBC CEO Holbrooke
Jolie on Wednesday in a CNN interview compared spending for the fight against HIV/AIDS with spending for the war in Iraq, saying that the U.S. war budget far exceeds the amount being spent to fight the disease, AFP/News24.com reports. "I'm not saying I'm for or against war, but the amount that is spent every month, being, I think they said, $5 billion, and to ... realize that we're spending $15 billion on AIDS, for over, what is it? Three years, five years?" Jolie told CNN. GBC Executive Director Trevor Neilson in the interview said, "We're trying to call on the world's business community to better respond to the AIDS pandemic and trying to use business leaders to put pressure on government to do more" (AFP/News 24.com, 9/29). GBC President and CEO Ambassador Richard Holbrooke on Wednesday in an interview with Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto" said that the key to fighting HIV/AIDS worldwide "is prevention, prevention, prevention," which he said includes condom use, abstinence, "particularly for young girls, and all sorts of obvious things." Holbrooke added that people "must be tested" so they can know their HIV status and are able to take steps to prevent transmission (Cavuto, "Your World with Neil Cavuto," Fox News, 9/28).
A kaisernetwork.org HealthCast of the GBC gala will be available online after 3 p.m. ET.