UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Recorded on June 4, 2021

Forty years ago this week, the CDC’s weekly mortality and morbidity report contained a short write-up on the cases of five young men who were treated in Los Angeles with what was described as a new form of pneumonia. Two died by the time the report was published; the remaining three died soon after.

After the publication, reports of similar cases poured in from New York, San Francisco, and other U.S. cities. It was not known at the time, but these were the first official reports of what would later become known as AIDS.

In the time since, an estimated 32.7 million people have lost their lives to AIDS-related illness globally, including 700,000 people in the United States. It’s a staggering number of lives lost. Each one of these individuals had loved ones, friends, and communities who mourned their loss.

But as we gather, more than 38 million people are living today with HIV, including 1.2 million people in the United States. They are our colleagues, our neighbors, our partners and family members; people of all ages, races, faiths, nationalities. And thanks to the efforts of generations of brave leaders like Yana Panfilova, who we heard from in the opening plenary, fewer of these individuals feel they need to hide their status.

We’re proud of the work the United States and partners around the world have done together to turn the tide in this epidemic.

Since President Bush launched the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, in 2003, we’ve invested more than $85 billion in this effort; helped save 20 million lives; prevented millions of HIV infections; and strengthened local health systems across 54 countries.

Few initiatives in the history of American foreign policy have done so much to help so many people; it’s one of our proudest contributions to the international community.

These investments have also helped keep Ebola, H1N1, and other deadly diseases from raging out of control. And they’ve been vital in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

As we all know, we’ve made these strides by working together across governments and multilateral institutions, as well as with advocates, scientists, community-based organizations, businesses, doctors, and educators.

Yet despite the remarkable progress, our work is not done.  Enduring inequities continue to stand in the way of ending this epidemic. Inequities across and within our counties and communities; inequities along social, economic, racial, and gender lines. All of which have been worsened by COVID-19.

If we fail to close these gaps, millions more people will acquire HIV, and millions more people now living with HIV will die.

Ending AIDS is within our reach. But we cannot achieve that goal if we deny people’s sexual and reproductive rights, or foster discrimination against the very people who are the most vulnerable to HIV.

That means ensuring equitable access to HIV services for all, particularly the populations most impacted by the epidemic: the LGBTQI+ community, people who use drugs, sex workers, racial and ethnic minorities, women and girls.

Laws, policies, and practices that make it harder for these populations to access crucial services only increase stigma and put more lives at risk. And they cut against the core principles of the United Nations.

Today, we look to our fellow member states to work with the United States toward ensuring all people have equal access to quality HIV services, regardless of who they are or who they love.

We’ve made tremendous progress together in the 40 years since those first five cases were reported. Let’s build on our gains, recommit to reaching those still in need, and end the HIV epidemic for everyone, everywhere.

Thanks for listening.

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The growing connectivity between airplanes and these systems may present increasing opportunities for cyberattacks on commercial airplanes. GAO was asked to review the FAA's oversight of avionics cybersecurity issues. The objectives of this review were to (1) describe key cybersecurity risks to avionics systems and their potential effects, (2) determine the extent to which FAA oversees the implementation of cybersecurity controls that address identified risks in avionics systems, and (3) assess the extent to which FAA coordinates internally and with other government and industry entities to identify and address cybersecurity risks to avionics systems. To do so, GAO reviewed information on key cybersecurity risks to avionics systems, as reported by major industry representatives as well as key elements of an effective oversight program, and compared FAA's process for overseeing the implementation of cybersecurity controls in avionics systems with these program elements. GAO also reviewed agency documentation and interviewed agency and industry representatives to assess FAA's coordination efforts to address the identified risks. GAO is making six recommendations to FAA to strengthen its avionics cybersecurity oversight program: GAO recommends that FAA conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment of avionics systems cybersecurity within its oversight program to identify the relative priority of avionics cybersecurity risks compared to other safety concerns and develop a plan to address those risks. Based on the assessment of avionics cybersecurity risks, GAO recommends that FAA identify staffing and training needs for agency inspectors specific to avionics cybersecurity, and develop and implement appropriate training to address identified needs. develop and implement guidance for avionics cybersecurity testing of new airplane designs that includes independent testing. review and consider revising its policies and procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of avionics cybersecurity controls in the deployed fleet to include developing procedures for safely conducting independent testing. ensure that avionics cybersecurity issues are appropriately tracked and resolved when coordinating among internal stakeholders. review and consider the extent to which oversight resources should be committed to avionics cybersecurity. FAA concurred with five out of six GAO recommendations. FAA did not concur with the recommendation to consider revising its policies and procedures for periodic independent testing. GAO clarified this recommendation to emphasize that FAA safely conduct such testing as part of its ongoing monitoring of airplane safety. For more information, contact Nick Marinos at (202) 512-9342 or MarinosN@gao.gov, or Heather Krause at (202) 512-2834 or KrauseH@gao.gov.
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