Obama Expands The George W. Bush PEPFAR AIDS Program

The mission continues for an AIDS-Free generation

Amid the challenges in achieving the mission of an AIDS-free generation, the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR/Emergency Plan or PEPFAR has made enormous progress in the fight against the scourging disease.

In his remarks at the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Diplomatic Reception in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry said because of President Obama’s leadership and commitment, PEPFAR is now serving antiretroviral treatment for 7.7 million men, women, and children.

The PEPFAR’s launching of Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment Initiative will put life-saving treatment within the reach for another 300,000 children.

In addition, the PEPFAR is providing HIV testing and counseling to more than 14 million pregnant women.

PEPFAR was an initiative started by President George W. Bush in 2008. U2 singer Bono, speaking about the good that Bush did for AIDS, said, “President Bush really knocked it out of the park.”

By 2009, it was estimated the program had prevented more than one million deaths in Africa and reduced the AIDS death rate in the covered countries by 10%.

“We’re supporting more than 6.5 million with voluntary medical male circumcision.” – Secretary Kerry

CDC poster from 1989 highlighting the threat of AIDS associated with drug use.

PEPFAR also trained more than 140,000 new health care workers to deliver HIV and other health services in AIDS-affected countries. In December 2014, the DREAMS partnership was launched. The DREAMS partnership specifically targets adolescent girls and young women.

Secretary Kerry underscored that PEPFAR remains the largest commitment of any nation to address a single disease and has become a model for treating other diseases, including Ebola.

carry the fight across the finish line

Secretary Kerry said with the apparent progress in the battle against HIV, there is the need carry this fight across the finish line.

There are three things needed to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

One is to consider the need to continue to make creative and strategic investments based on the latest science and best practices. To do this, there is a need to continue setting benchmarks for outcomes and put weight behind HIV prevention, treatment, and care intervention that works.

Second, Secretary Kerry highlighted the need to focus on the impact of HIV/AIDS specifically on women and girls. HIV and AIDS remains the leading cause of disease or of death for women of reproductive age in low and middle-income countries.

Finally, there is a need to promote greater accountability and transparency through the new Country Health Partnerships.

Secretary Kerry pointed out that South Africa, Rwanda, and Namibia are among the nations on the front lines of it, and each of these countries is providing a model for PEPFAR in transitioning from direct aid into delivering support for locally run, self-sustaining efforts.

US on creating an AIDS-free generation

With the world making progress to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, the United States of America has reiterated its commitment in creating an AIDS-free generation.

The US has said the ability to prevent and treat the disease has advanced beyond what many might have reasonably hoped 22 years ago.

Under President Barack Obama, the US government is building on the legacy to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

The PEPFAR is shifting out of emergency mode and starting to build sustainable health systems that will help the US government finally win this fight and deliver an AIDS-free generation.

The US government has engaged diplomatically with ministers of finance and health, but also with presidents and prime ministers to listen and learn about their priorities and needs in order to chart the best way forward together.

With the progress the world is making together, the US says the world can look ahead to a historic goal: creating an AIDS-free generation.

In July 2010, President Obama launched the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which has reinvigorated the domestic response to the epidemic.

The US government is focusing on what they call combination prevention.

US strategy includes condoms, counseling and testing, and places special emphasis on three other interventions: treatment as prevention, voluntary medical male circumcision, and stopping the transmission of HIV from mothers to children.

Globally, the US has supported its partner countries shifting their investments toward the specific mix of prevention tools that will have the greatest impact for their people.

On treatment as prevention, the United States has added funding for nearly 600,000 more people since September.

The US efforts are reaching nearly 4.5 million people now and closing in on its national goal of 6 million by the end of next year.

On male circumcision, the United States has supported more than 400,000 procedures since last December alone.

The PEPFAR will provide an additional $40 million to support South Africa’s plans to provide voluntary medical circumcisions for almost half a million boys and men in the coming year.

And on mother-to-child transmission, the US is committed to eliminating it by 2015, getting the number to zero.

In the first half of this fiscal year, the US has reached more than 370,000 women globally, and its is on track to hit PEPFAR’s target of reaching an additional 1.5 million women by next year.

In addition, the United States is accelerating its work on all three of these fronts in the effort to create an AIDS-free generation and look at how all these elements come together to make a historic impact.

In June 2011, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby pledged an additional $75 million for preventing mother-to-child transmission during the 2011 High Level Meeting on AIDS.

Nearly every minute, a baby is born with HIV. A child dies of AIDS every two minutes and one of every five maternal deaths in Africa is HIV-related.

The world has made incredible progress in closing the gap in developing countries thanks in great part to the commitment of the American people. In fiscal year 2010, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programs focused on preventing mother-to-child-transmission directly supported services that led to more than 114,000 children estimated to have been born free of HIV.

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Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.