6 June 2011 - New York City - Raise your hand and make your pledge, said Lucy Chesire, a leading international advocate on behalf of people affected by HIV-associated TB, in a gently commanding voice. This was her call to action to the 200-odd VIP guests who gathered tonight at UN Headquarters at an event hosted by Ray Chambers, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria and UN MDG Advocate. Repeat after me - Time to act. Save a million lives by 2015 - Prevent and treat tuberculosis among people living with HIV, she said. The audience pledged their support in a chorus.
Lucy's call to action was preceded by pledges from Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund; and Eric Goosby, US Global AIDS Coordinator to work together with the Stop TB Partnership to realize the goal of reducing deaths from HIV-associated TB by 80% - saving one million lives - by 2015.
The details of a new epidemiological model showing it is possible to sharply reduce AIDS deaths worldwide by preventing and treating TB were presented at the evening's start by Jorge Sampaio, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy to Stop TB and former President of Portugal. The model, which provides a clear blueprint for saving lives, was produced through a joint effort by the Stop TB Partnership, WHO and UNAIDS.
Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership, who served as emcee, bantered with the audience and spurred the assembled speakers and guests to action on TB/HIV.
Two celebrity speakers - the Honorable Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark New Jersey and Osas Ighodaro, Miss Black USA - pledged to leverage their fame in the United States as a platform to raise awareness about TB/HIV worldwide. Yvonne Chaka Chaka, world-renowned South African songstress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador closed the evening with a rousing a cappella song.
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