Wall Street Journal Examines How Clinton, Gates Use Different Personalities, Strengths To Combat HIV/AIDS, Other Global Diseases
The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday examined how Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former President Clinton use their different personalities and strengths to further their global health efforts, including controlling HIV/AIDS. Gates, as the "world's richest man," often eschews working with governments and prefers to fund not-for-profit partnerships directly through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the Journal. Clinton is "skilled in the art of negotiation" and possesses "charm and diplomacy," which are "valuable assets" in bringing together governments, advocates and the drug industry, the Journal reports. Clinton often works "hand in glove with host governments, even occupying office space inside ministry offices," the Journal adds. Although Clinton and Gates have not established an official collaboration, and there is "little formal arrangement between the two men or their foundations," their "budding partnership of opposites is a potential synergy between two leading figures in the new breed of philanthropists," according to the Journal. "It's not an exaggeration to say the two Bills are leading the world in the fight against AIDS," Trevor Neilson, a partner at the Endeavor Group, and former spokesperson for Clinton and the Gates Foundation, said. Although Clinton and Gates only recently have begun to join forces, the "spate of joint public appearances reflects a more intense level of engagement aimed at bringing maximum attention to their cause," the Journal reports. The two men plan to make "their highest-profile joint appearance yet" when they speak together at the XVI International AIDS Conference, which is scheduled for next month in Toronto, the Journal reports. "I think what you're seeing is the beginning of what you might call the first super NGO ... with overlapping interests and a great deal of resources," Richard Holbrooke, Clinton's United Nations ambassador and president of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, said. Mark Harrington, executive director of Treatment Action Group, said that while Clinton's and Gates' advocacy has helped overhaul HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs and biomedical research, "it could give governments an excuse not to step up to the plate" (Chase, Wall Street Journal, 7/11).
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Clinton, Gates, U.N. Envoy Lewis Visit Africa
In related news, Clinton, Gates and U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis on Wednesday are scheduled to visit Lesotho to review the country's HIV/AIDS situation, IRIN News/AllAfrica.com reports. During the one-day trip, the three plan to visit an HIV/AIDS treatment site at the Mafetang government hospital that receives support from the Clinton Foundation. The trip will be Gates' first to Lesotho (IRIN News/AllAfrica.com, 7/10). Lesotho, where since 2004 the Clinton Foundation has been involved in HIV/AIDS treatment access programs, is a "highly significant venue" for Clinton and Gates to visit because of its nationwide HIV testing campaign and its efforts to destigmatize HIV/AIDS treatment, according to Neilson (Wall Street Journal, 7/11). Gates this week also is visiting South Africa to assess projects funded by the Gates Foundation. Gates and his wife, Melinda, also are expected to talk with local experts about testing microbicide gels for women (Kahn, Business Day, 7/10). Microbicides include a range of products -- such as gels, films and sponges -- that could help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/27).