Hillary Clinton Names Ellen DeGeneres Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness at Address to NIH


During a major address on HIV/AIDS at the National Institutes of Health today, Hillary Clinton named Ellen DeGeneres a Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness, according to a release from the White House:

ClintonIn this role, Ms. DeGeneres will use her celebrity platform to raise awareness about the global fight against AIDS.  In a letter to Ms. DeGeneres, Secretary Clinton stated, “By lending us your energy, compassion, and star power to serve as our Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness, your words will encourage Americans in joining you to make their voices heard in our campaign to achieve an AIDS-free generation. The enormous platform of your television show and your social media channels will enable you to reach millions of people with the strong and hopeful message that we can win this fight.”

"I’m honored to have been chosen by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as Special Envoy for Global AIDS awareness.  The fight against AIDS is something that has always been close to my heart.  And I’m happy that I can use my platform to educate people and spread hope. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go look up what “envoy” means," said talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), said “At this historic moment in our global fight against AIDS, we are thrilled that we have someone like Ellen DeGeneres on our team to raise awareness that we are on the path to beating this devastating disease.  We at PEPFAR look forward to working with her to deliver a positive and hopeful message that we can work together to put an end to AIDS.”

I'll post Clinton's speech on video if and when it becomes available.

In her remarks, Secretary Clinton issued a specific call to action to the world to achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation, according to the State Department.

  • Science must guide these prevention efforts.
  • Partner countries must have ownership of their AIDS programs and share more responsibility for funding the fight against AIDS within their borders.
  • Finally, other donor nations must do more, including by supporting and strengthening the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Meanwhile, the Fund has its own responsibilities to meet to ensure its money is being effectively and efficiently spent.

Think Progress reported on Clinton's speech:

Clinton said she envisioned a world in which virtually no children are born with the virus, face far lower risk of becoming infected, and have access to treatments that prevent the development of AIDS and reduce spreading the infection. “HIV may be there in the future, but the disease that it causes may not be,” she said, laying out three “combination prevention” measures that would help meet the new goal:

1) Preventing mother to child transmission: 1 in 7 occurs when a mother passes the virus to her child, Clinton noted and joked: “We can get that number to zero. I keep saying zero, my speech writer keeps saying virtually zero.” She set the goal of eliminating new infections among children by 2015.

2) Voluntary male circumcision: Clinton described this option as a low-cost procedure that reduces the risk of female to male transmission by more than 60 percent. Since 2007, some 1 million have been circumcised for HIV prevention, with 3/4 of the procedures having been funded by PEPFAR.

3) Treating with anti-retro viral drugs:“If you treat a person living with HIV effectively, you reduce the risk of transmission to a partner by 96 percent,” Clinton said and pledged to “scale-up” funding that will have a profound impact on the fight against AIDS.

With regard to mother to child transmission, I would personally recommend everyone to take a look at and support the fine work being done by Mothers2Mothers, which has more than 700 sites in South Africa and eight other countries.


  1. Pugzz says

    Well deserved for Ellen and what an honor coming from Hillary. But why is Hillary trying to look like Barbara Bush doing the Quaker Oats minuteman? Just sayin’…

  2. RIck says

    Not a word in Queen Hillary’s release about gay or bi men. It’s all about women and children, surprise, surprise. And then she appoints a white lesbian as a spokesperson for what is largely a disease of people of color and gay or bisexual males.

    But then what would you expect of feminists?

  3. says

    RICK, do you have a link to your own personal webpage wherein you talk about the important of HIV awareness as a gay man?

    Well….do you? Do you have a page where you put a public face and name, as a gay man, to your apparent concerns for the impact of HIV/AIDS on the gay community?

    if so, can you provide the link? if not, why is your cowardly ass sitting with both balls in the closet complaining about what “feminists” are doing when you, clearly, don’t have the BALLS to stand up and speak publicly, and visibly, about this issue?

    rather than continuing to complain about women why aren’t YOU making YOURSELF more visible as a gay man who cares about these issues?

  4. says

    Congrats to Ellen! Good job Hillary! I can’t think of one openly gay man who has an equal or greater public reach to the world then Ellen. Anderson maybe but as we all know, he lives quietly with his husband in that historic NY Firehouse! Ellen will do a fine job.

  5. RIck says

    “I can’t think of one openly gay man who has an equal or greater public reach to the world then Ellen”

    Is that supposed to be a joke? Nobody outside North America knows or cares who Ellen Degeneres is. And her audience within North America consists almost entirely of white women, the group least likely to be infected by HIV. By contrast, I doubt there is a soul on this planet who has never heard of Elton John, for example.

    But I don’t expect you or others like you to dare to do anything but kiss the butts of the two of them–there is a reason that the L comes first in LGBT, even though the G encompasses both genders–because gay men like you are nothing but submissive little puppets o–and social playthings for–women.

    Pathetic, as always.

  6. just_a_guy says

    A (potentially) visionary move.

    Because I like to think Ellen gets gay men. And gets what it’s like to be a stigmatized minority like people of color.

    I hate to say it, but I think too many of us otherwise-leading gay men are still burdened as adults by the INTENSE stigma against us in our culture. It’s harder to find gay male leaders who have overcame all of that. In any case, I like to think that Ellen will be strong and work to change things for the better.

    So, yeah, I think the press release language doesn’t capture the (potential) GENIUS of handing the reigns of the fight against HIV to someone like Ellen.

    But at least the press release does properly focus on Africa as the global epicenter of the problem. But AIDs in Africa can’t be solved without dealing with gay-hate there. It can’t.

  7. says

    Rick, when are you ever going to stop blaming women and “femmes” for the fact that your father wishes you weren’t your Son? Your dad is a lousy bigot, and it’s not the fault of women that he doesn’t love you.

  8. says

    In addition to Rick’s loathsome racism and sexism, there is his insufferable ignorance of plain facts. Ellen’s show is not only broadcast in South Africa, but also Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, The Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

    While Elton John is better known in more places, not only would we believe that he would turn off many straight men [far more of whom have HIV around the world than gay men], but also who’s to say he wasn’t asked first but declined?

  9. AJ says

    Stop being so self centered & perhaps see this from a broader viewpoint (no pun intended.) Ellen’s audience is needed to further compassion & awareness which will help the cause globally AND nationally AND locally AND intimately. This is not about feminists vs gay men, anyone’s international acceptance or approval level or anything other than outreach and impact to an audience of millions. Here is a link to a speech that Clinton gave in 2010 that explains the importance of Global Health: http://www.sais-jhu.edu/pressroom/press-releases/MA2010/clinton.htm It’s enlightening. Peace.

  10. oliver says

    Very clever (and wise) of this administration (and Mrs Clinton) to use the power of celebrity to their, and our advantage. Kudos to them (and Ellen, of course)!

  11. RIck says

    @Michael Bedwell Yeah, and her entire audience in all of those countries consists of white women, as well.

    But given that Hillary has a stated goal as Secretary of State of putting women first (i.e. of favoring women over men in every public policy arena, like any good feminist would do), the choice makes perfect sense.

    Her agenda is clear, no matter how desperately some of you try to engage in damage control for her….and it demonstrates once more that straight women are not friends of gay men, not when it really matters.

  12. just_a_guy says

    Rick, I do thing SOME feminists are at their core anti-gay. You haven’t convinced me that either Ellen or Hillary fit this categorization.

    Maybe don’t slap this gift horse in the mouth??

  13. says

    Rick, you spend more time bashing gay men than any feminist ever will. You hate most gay men because your dad hates having you for a son. it’s tired and old and pathetic. you’re not even OUT, you wimp.

  14. Rin says


    Jeez you’re on a tirade today! What happened? I thought we were making progress in your misogyny.

    The fact is that global aids (something I used to work in) affects 1 in 4 children in many African and South Asian nations. You call it a gay male disease, but how are 1 in 4 children affected if not through blood transmission from their mothers? You know, those creatures only good for pushing out kids? Mothers?

    It does ring a bell, right?

    Come on! You cannot be as curmudgeonly as you post. I refuse to believe it. Can’t you say ONE nice thing about women?

  15. RIck says

    @JUST_A_GUY Well, Hillary is on record as opposing same-sex marriage, when virtually every other Democrat–and quite a few Republicans–in the state she represented in the Senate is in favor of it.

    “Anti-gay” is too strong a term, though–let’s just say that she doesn’t give a damn about men, in general, gay, bi, straight, or otherwise…..and I think that is reflected in this choice…and in her press release.

    Ditto for Ellen.

  16. just_a_guy says

    @Rick. Hmm. I’ve always believed that Hillary has publicly rode the fence on the marriage equality issue because she is (almost) POTUS. The same reason Obama takes his muddled stance. Do I like it? no. Is it careful self-protective politics when state referendums are still passing based on hatred of gays? Unfortunately, but things are changing (I hope).

    But you can’t tell me Ellen is wishy-washy on gay equality.

    As a fellow gay man, I get your ambivilence with women. They have faced a lot of oppression–and still face many who don’t give them a real chance. Like some in the African-American community, some women disdain gay rights as a way to hedge their own advancement (e.g. Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin). But Hillary is no such silly demogogue.

    And, Mr. Rick, we need to learn to embrace equality and opportunity for all…including women. Otherwise we are hypocritical, no matter, say, how hateful and gay-hating some women in our own families behave. We need to see commonalities. And to understand the place of pain some women come from.

    Granted, a different sort of shared commonalities are worth building with straight men. And, yeah, it’s probably straight men who we can most easilty win to our side en masse in the coming decades. (Straight women who are not already gay-friendly are not likely to change their ways any time soon.)

    But our comparable commonalities with straight men are realistically based on the shared narrow, rigid roles we men feel pushed into. And the worst (and too common) part of feminism is a primary driver of these narrow, rigid roles. But it is no solution to oppose appointment of women BECAUSE they are women. Wouldn’t doing so be hypocritical??

    And HIV/AIDs is not a “gay” issue. ANy more than it’s a “female” issue. Or a “black” issue. (Never mind that as gay men, we need to take an active role to fight the transmission of HIV in OUR community, amidst a hypersexualization of gay men by an anti-gay culture that leads too many of us to have sex too casually for our own good–too often despite any given individual’s knowledge that he really deserves better.)

    Bigger picture, man, bigger picture!!

  17. luminum says

    I hope Rick understands that the HIV/AIDS Crisis is a situation that affects vastly more women and children in the global context than it does gay and bisexual men. Figuring in Africa and Southeast Asia alone makes that clear.

    Considering that Ellen Degeneres is the Global AIDS Awareness envoy, that makes plenty of sense that they would address the global context of the burden of HIV?AIDS and not the national one. If she was the National AIDS Awareness envoy, then Rick might have a point.

    I hope next time he will be more informed before touting his anti-women, anti-gay platform again.

    As for the topic itself, Ellen Degeneres? Really? She’s a celebrity, but why her specifically? She’s not well known globally, and what she IS known for is not HIV activism…

  18. jason says

    Please, please, can we have an Ellen-free zone for a change? She’s horribly over-exposed. I can’t stand her.

    She also has homophobic guests on her show whom she supports.

  19. AJ says

    People pay attention to her and she’s KNOWN for being compassionate and raising people’s awareness! What do you people want?! A scientist that no one pays attention to? A pop singer that people write off as an attention whore? She casts a broad net and will raise people’s attention just like celebrities have in the past – Elizabeth Taylor was not always the face of AIDS, she was an actress who got married a lot & Audrey Hepburn was not always the face of UNICEF, she was an actress who dressed well. The kids that she helped in Africa probably never saw Roman Holiday or Funny Face or even My Fair Lady!

    If Ellen commits to the good of the world and the future by accepting this position or Clinton & The Obama Admin chose her because she has a lot of followers who might take action and donate money, then “CHEERS!” to the all and us!

    What are y’all defending???!!! Figure it out and LET IT BE… we’re all on the same side here. Support those that want to help and maybe then we can all help to end HIV & AIDS finally!

  20. Marty says

    Rick often speaks in incredibly harsh terms,but for the most part he’s right about gay men and masculinity and women’s underlying homophobia, especially white women. A white lesbian as the face of a disease that mostly affects people of color and gay men? yeah, good luck with that…

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