Clinton’s Speech on Fighting AIDS Doesn’t Mention Gay Sex

November 9, 2011 - 12:58 PM

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo.)

(CNSNews.com) – In what was billed as a “major address” on Tuesday at the National Institutes of Health, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the goal of fighting AIDS/HIV around the globe was “creating an AIDS-Free Generation.”

But her 4,000-word speech did not reference what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says accounts for 61 percent of the approximately 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year: male-to-male sexual contact.

Clinton’s speech was focused on fighting HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa where 60 percent of the people living with the virus are women and girls. She touted the success of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, which was launched by the George W. Bush administration in 2003 to fight the disease on the African continent and in other regions of the world.

“Now, many of you know because you were there,” Clinton said. “The fight against AIDS began three decades ago in June 1981.”

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AIDS activists in Indonesia. (AP Photo.)

“American scientists reported the first evidence of a mysterious new disease,” Clinton said. “It was killing young men by leaving them vulnerable to rare forms of pneumonia, cancer, and other health problems.”

Since then, Clinton noted, the virus has “killed 30 million people around the world.”

Clinton said because of scientific advances, being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence and she announced the three strategies to reach an “AIDS-free generation” – mother to child transmission, voluntary medical circumcision, and “scaling up treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS.”

She also said these should be combined with access to condoms, counseling and testing, and “other effective prevention interventions.”

The only reference Clinton made in her speech to sex was when she called for “repealing laws that make people criminals simply because of their sexual orientation.”

According to the CDC, in the United States in 2009, 23,846 males were diagnosed with HIV resulting from male-to-male sexual conduct. Some 12, 860 heterosexuals were infected from sexual contact and 131 cases were transmitted from mother to child in the womb. The number of people in the “other category,” which includes blood transfusions, was 76.

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(AP Photo.)

Also, according to the CDC, men who have sex with men, or MSM, “account for just 2% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009. MSM accounted for 49% of people living with HIV infection in 2008 (the most recent year prevalence data are available).”

“In 2009, white MSM accounted for the largest number of new HIV infections of any group in the U.S., followed closely by black MSM,” stated the CDC. Gay, bisexual, and other MSM “are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily since the early 1990s,” said the CDC.

Secretary Clinton concluded her speech by saying that the United States and other countries around the world should continue to make fighting HIV/AIDS a priority.

“We’ve made a lot of progress together in the last 30 years,” Clinton said. “It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been without controversy. But it has been steady, and we have stayed the course as a nation.”

“In these difficult budget times we have to remember that investing in our future is the smartest investment we can make,” she said.