Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 30 November - Hillary Clinton launches blueprint for ‘Aids-free generation’ -

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is launching a blueprint for the eradication of Aids across the globe, on the eve of World Aids Day 2013.

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 30 November

Hillary Clinton launches blueprint for ‘Aids-free generation’

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is launching a blueprint for the eradication of Aids across the globe, on the eve of World Aids Day 2013.

The blueprint - which Ms Clinton called for in her keynote speech at the International Aids Conference in Washington DC in July - suggests that Aids could be eradicated within the next four years by focusing efforts on preventing the spread of the disease and providing treatment to all those who need it.

"An AIDS-free generation will be within our sight," Ms Clinton said, as she described the 54-page document which draws on medical and social scientific research to propose the most effective interventions for halting a pandemic that has raged for 30 years.

The blueprint states that the goal to eradicate Aids could be achieved by starting more infected people on anti-retroviral drugs, circumcising men in countries with a high rate of prevalence and ensuring that every HIV-positive pregnant woman is treated. This would substantially reduce the risk of mother to child transmission, which occurs during birth or through breast feeding – potentially meaning that children in the future need not be born with HIV.

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than 60% of the world’s population that is living with HIV - the human immuno deficiency virus. If left untreated, this condition can lead to Aids (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) whereby a person loses the ability to fight infection. Aids is the leading cause of death in Africa with approximately 3,600 people dying every day and upwards of 12 million children left orphaned as a result.

Unlike most other illnesses, the impact of Aids stretches across whole societies and communities. It is compounded by poverty, weak education and public health systems – which are further weakened – and by the low social status of women who have the highest rate of infection.

While the US has yet to announce further funding to enact the new proposals, Anton Ofield-Kerr, head of policy at the International HIV/Aids Alliance, said he hoped the blueprint would prove to be "a top-level strategic document that demonstrates US political commitment to maximising the scientific know-how and tools available in order to lead us to the tipping point that will bring about an end to Aids."

Ms Clinton herself warned that the US - and other nations- now had to deliver. “The history of global health is littered with grand plans that never panned out," she said.

There are many people hoping that this trend, too, will be reversed.

Questions for discussion

General Discussion

  • Why is it important that we support and care for people who are ill?
  • Can you think of any ways to stop common infections, such as flu and colds, from spreading in our school?
  • What kind of prejudices exist against people who suffer from illness or disability?
  • December 1st is World Aids Day. How might we go about raising awareness about Aids within our community?

Related resources

Aids: A global perspective

  • Raise awareness of Aids and get students thinking about prejudice and discrimination with this British Red Cross assembly script and activity pack.

National Aids Trust

  • A series of lesson plans, activities and assembly ideas from the National Aids Trust on the realities of living with HIV.

HIV and Aids in developing countries

  • ActionAidSchoolsTeam shares a PowerPoint, sorting activity and a game to help students understand how HIV and Aids affect people in impoverished regions.

World Aids Day collection

  • Take a look at our collection of handpicked teaching resources to mark World Aids Day.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week

The British Press is in need of an independent regulatory body, today’s much anticipated Leveson report has suggested.

The publication of Lord Leveson’s report on improving regulation of newspapers and journalism is already big news.

Dr Joseph Murray, the pioneering surgeon who performed the world's first successful kidney transplant, has died at the age of 93.

The Environment Agency has announced a "national crisis" after storms and floods ravaged communities across England and Wales, with more flooding still predicted.

In the news archive index