The Obama Administration has named Ellen DeGeneres a special envoy for raising AIDS awareness.
On Tuesday, the administration announced that the comedian and actress would lend her fame to combat the spread of the disease in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as raise global responsiveness of AIDS.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said DeGeneres would “bring her sharp wit and big heart, and her impressive TV audience and 8 million followers on Twitter” to the table in support of U.S. efforts against HIV/AIDS.
Clinton added that $60 million was added to funding for the effort against AIDS. According to the Associated Press, the money would help scale and identify new prevention plans.
Prevention methods will drive infections down, making treatments available to more people, said Clinton. In an effort to create an AIDS-free generation, the administration is allowing health campaigners to “get ahead of the pandemic” for the first time.
DeGeneres’ “The Ellen Show” on CBS is currently being filmed in Nashville, Tenn. As a result, DeGeneres was unable to attend the National Institutes of Health’s Masur Auditorium in Bethesda, Md.
Regardless of DeGeneres’ absence, Clinton said, “I know we can look forward to many contributions from Ellen and her loyal fans across the globe.”
DeGeneres served as a judge on “American Idol” during its 9th season and has hosted both the Academy Awards and the Primetime Emmys during her career. She has earned thirteen Emmys and numerous other awards for her work as well as her charitable efforts.
AIDS, or as Clinton said Tuesday, “the worst plague of our lifetime,” has killed 30 million people around the world – and 34 million are living with HIV today.
“We understand how it is spread, how it constantly mutates in the body, how it hides from the immune system,” Clinton said. “Now, AIDS is still an incurable disease, but it no longer has to be a death sentence,” according to the press release.
“Let’s not stop now. Let’s keep focused on the future. And one of those futures that I hope we can be part of achieving is an AIDS-free generation,” said Clinton, closing her remarks.