Press Conference, Friday, June 28th, 10:00am – 11:00am—Sheraton Pretoria
Obama cut over $200 million from global AIDS programs—the first president to ever cut AIDS funding.
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA (June 28, 2013)⎯As U.S. President Barack Obama continues his official visit to Africa—with a stop Friday in Pretoria, South Africa to meet with President Jacob Zuma—advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the African Council of AIDS Service Organizations (AfriCASO) and South African AIDS patients will host a press conference in Pretoria, Friday, June 28th from 10:00am to 11:00am at the Sheraton Pretoria. At the press conference—which takes place directly across from the Union Buildings, where Zuma and Obama are expected to meet that day—advocates will decry funding cuts made by the Obama administration to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the landmark US global AIDS program which has saved millions of lives worldwide.
WHAT: Press Conference—S. Africans Say, “President Obama: No Retreat on AIDS!”
WHEN: FRIDAY, June 28th 2013 10:00 am – 11:00 am
WHERE: Sheraton Pretoria
643 corner of Church and Wessels Streets, Pretoria 0007 South Africa
- Dr. Bright Mhlongo, Consultant/Physician, AHF South Africa Umlazi Healthcare Center
- African Council of AIDS Service Organizations (AfriCASO) representative to be announced
- Hilary Thulare, AHF Country Program Director, South Africa
- Monica Nyawo, 37 year-old South African who was diagnosed in 1996, had full-blown AIDS in 1998 and was admitted at McCord Hospital for one month and later referred to a hospice where she stayed for 9 months before discharging herself. She miraculously survived. In 2004, she was diagnosed with TB Meningitis, and was later started on ARV’s. She has been on treatment for 9 years, and works as a research lay counselor at AHF South Africa’s Ithembalabantu Clinic
- Nokuthula Khathi, has been advocating with AHF South Africa for more than 3 years
- 15- 20 AIDS patients and advocates with ‘No Retreat on AIDS’ placards and banners
- Video Clip—Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “President Obama: Keep the Promise on AIDS’
- Newspaper advocacy ad, ‘President Obama: No Retreat on AIDS,’ (which ran in Senegal) and will also run in Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday, June 29 in the Cape Argus.
At the press conference, advocates and patients will also urge President Obama to continue to honor the United States’ commitment to the respected AIDS program. Obama—the first US president to ever cut AIDS funding—cut over $200 million from global AIDS programs. Many of those cuts are already having devastating—and deadly—impact and are being felt around the world, most notably with the closure of the AIDS treatment clinic at McCord Hospital in hard-hit South Africa.
Desmond Tutu’s “Keep the Promise on AIDS” Video Message to Obama
At the press conference, AHF and the patients and advocates will also play a video message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, recorded last summer for the ‘Keep the Promise on AIDS’ Rally & March which took place the opening day of the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. In his video message, Archbishop Tutu talks about the humanitarian lifesaving efforts of the US through PEPFAR. He also gently then chides President Obama to “Keep the promise on AIDS.”
In addition, in response to President Obama’s global AIDS funding cuts and in conjunction with his African visit, AHF advocates ran a ‘President Obama: No Retreat on AIDS’ advocacy ad in two prominent Senegalese newspapers during Obama’s first country stop in Senegal: L’Observateur (June 26) and Le Soleil (June 27). The ad will also run in South Africa on Saturday, June 29th in the Cape Argus in Cape Town, where Obama is expected to visit Sunday.