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Partnerships Transform the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

On World AIDS Day 2011, President Barack Obama called attention to the vital role partnerships play in winning the fight against HIV/AIDS—partnerships between the government and the private sector have the power to change the course of the HIV epidemic and ensure that people living with HIV and AIDS get access to life-saving treatments.1 In other words, partnerships have the power to transform the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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As a strong supporter of these partnerships, Bristol-Myers Squibb is working with Quilt in the Capital 2012 during the momentous return of the AIDS Memorial Quilt (the Quilt) to Washington, DC, this July. This event also marks the return of the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) to the United States after 22 years abroad.

Over its 25-year history, the Quilt has commemorated the men, women, and children claimed by the epidemic—and it continues to be a compelling symbol of the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS. The Quilt exemplifies the power of bringing together people from all backgrounds to foster dialogue, awareness, and action at every level. These partnerships are at the core of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s 20+ year commitment to join with the people and organizations working to end the epidemic.

Unfortunately, too many people lack access to HIV/AIDS care and treatment. One solution is to create strong and lasting partnerships that help drive policy initiatives aimed at reducing barriers to care.

“It takes the collaboration of many stakeholders to advance policies that support access to care and treatment for all people living with HIV. Bristol-Myers Squibb is a committed and key partner in this endeavor, having supported programs to strengthen community capacity to address HIV law and policy development needed at the local, state, and national levels.”

Robert Greenwald, JD
Director, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, Harvard Law School
Clinical Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Access to HIV Care in the South exemplifies programming intended to strengthen community capacity by engaging private sector stakeholders with community-based organizations in Alabama that are working to meet challenges in overcoming barriers to HIV care. This and other Bristol-Myers Squibb-supported initiatives like Positive Charge, WithInSight®, and the State Healthcare Access Research Project (SHARP) are working to meet the unique needs of people living with HIV and AIDS.

“The domestic fight against HIV/AIDS will only be won with the support and engagement of the private sector and civil society at large. Bristol-Myers Squibb is leading the way in creating new public-private partnership opportunities to expand the HIV/AIDS care workforce, improve access to treatment and care, and create awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the most impacted regions of the United States. This type of leadership from a private company is a model we hope to see replicated over and over again; it is essential to our success in turning the tide of HIV domestically.”

Dawn Averitt Bridge
Founder, Coalition for National HIV Awareness Month
Founder and Chair, The Well Project
Nellysford, VA

The designation of July 2012 as the first annual National HIV Awareness Month shows how public-private partnerships have the ability to create awareness about HIV/AIDS, and spark renewed commitment and energy in those striving to end the epidemic. Bristol-Myers Squibb joined with the broad coalition supporting this event. Expanding the reach of public-private partnerships will also support those working to achieve the goals outlined by the United States National HIV/AIDS Strategy, including measures to address disparities and healthcare inequities for people living with HIV and AIDS and improving access to HIV treatment and care.

“For more than two decades, Bristol-Myers Squibb has been committed to discovering, developing, and delivering innovative therapies to treat HIV. We will not waver in our journey with the HIV community—or in our mission to ensure that people living with HIV have access to treatment.”

Douglas J. Manion, MD
Senior Vice President
Development, Neuroscience, Virology, and Japan
Bristol-Myers Squibb

Only one year after the Quilt was created, Bristol-Myers Squibb began its journey to bring antiviral therapies to market, and it continues to strive for advances in HIV therapy that might bring an end to the epidemic. As the Quilt is unfolded once again this July, tens of thousands will remember the journey of those who bravely fought the disease—also honoring the enduring commitment of those who continue to fight HIV and AIDS.

The Quilt is a living and growing memorial to those who have died from the epidemic. Each of the 48,000 hand-sewn panels of the Quilt serves to inspire those currently fighting the disease and bring hope for the day when panels are no longer needed to be sewn. As the largest community art project in the world, the Quilt shows how, working in partnership, we can win the fight against HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world.

1Remarks by the President on World AIDS Day. The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. June 18, 2012

Visit www.BMSImagesOfAIDS2012.com to view “Images of AIDS 2012” by Kelly Guenther.  Kelly won a 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for her contribution to the New York Times’ coverage of 9/11 and has a beautiful eye for capturing special moments.

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