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Deborah Dugan Headshot

The $22 Million Domino Effect

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The domino effect can be a truly beautiful thing. But in the case of the AIDS fight, when every domino is a private sector player, we don't want dominos down. We want as many as possible standing proud if the match is to be won. And winning is the virtual elimination of AIDS. We are at a tipping point in the fight against AIDS. We now know that we can end this pandemic -- a possibility that was considered impossible 10 years ago -- but only if the world keeps its foot on the gas.

The progress to date has been extraordinary. 10 million people are now on life-saving medication compared with 300,000 just a decade ago. But with these giant strides in the fight comes an increased jeopardy. Without sustained focus, all too easily we could lose the momentum gained. When life-saving medication, costing as little as 40 cents per day, can save an HIV+ mother's life and prevent transmitting the virus to her baby, the role that private sector money can play in the fight comes sharply into focus.

This week at the World Economic Forum in Davos we saw the private sector at its finest. Some of the world's biggest, best known companies stood up and committed money to the Global Fund to fight AIDS; money which will help finance its critical work in the months and years ahead. And it's here we saw the domino effect at its most powerful. It's beyond encouraging to see Bank of America's new $10 million commitment to fight AIDS catalyze further dollar matching for a total of $22 million for the Global Fund. Significantly, that takes the total (RED) money raised since 2006 to more than quarter billion dollars.

In addition to money, the private sector plays an important role in generating heat and awareness for the AIDS fight. Businesses have the ability to rally and engage huge numbers of customers, employees and affiliates around the world. That rallying not only raises awareness -- it also helps drive further donations and keeps political heat on the issue to get us closer to the goal.

Today, the world is on the cusp of an incredible opportunity; delivering the world's first AIDS Free Generation for more than 30 years. We can only do this if everyone gets squarely behind the fight, and I urge the private sector as a whole to follow suit; stand up and show the world that only together we can end AIDS.