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On Friday, April 28, 2006, a Global Summit with President Clinton and a star cast of leading figures in the fight against AIDS was held in New York State’s oldest African American church in Harlem. What an event! CNN’s medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, moderated a discussion on "The End of AIDS" between luminaries including Bill Clinton, Helene Gayle, Richard Gere, Paul Farmer, and Thembi Ngubane (a young HIV+ woman from South Africa).

The high-profile television summit marked the anniversary of the first AIDS case 25 years ago and highlighted the strategies to conquer the virus in the next 25 years, although the panelists were largely skeptical that the world would see the end of AIDS by that time. Instead they agreed that if any progress was to be made in the next 25 years there was still much to be done. Both because and in spite of the glitzy media element, this event exposed a wide global audience to many of the critical themes facing the AIDS community: committing increased resources; creating and maintaining political will; ensuring an equal balance between prevention and treatment; reducing the price of drugs; increasing access to drugs and care for the poorest populations; and promoting programs that both include and go beyond abstinence.

The substantive discussion was supplemented by performances from a local Harlem choir, a saxophonist and an original Tuskegee airman who charmed the congregational audience under the bright lights. While it wasn't necessarily the most informative forum for those who are involved in the daily fight, it was more than entertaining to be part of an endeavor that will reach people all over the world in real time with the right messages about trying to end AIDS. Stay tuned for more media action from the Clinton Global Initiative and CNN!

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.