By Maureen E Thaivalappil, Washington, DC
Today the U.S. Government, through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), announced that it is supporting life-saving antiretroviral treatment for approximately 1.73 million men, women and children worldwide, including nearly 1.68 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.
This represents a dramatic increase from the roughly 50,000 people on treatment in all of sub-Saharan Africa in 2003, when President George W. Bush first announced PEPFAR.
This accomplishment, along with the similarly successful prevention and care programs
supported through PEPFAR, is a testament to the commitment of the people of the countries in which the U.S. Government is privileged to serve.
Together, PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are supporting antiretroviral treatment for approximately 2.4 million of the 3 million people on treatment in low- and middle-income countries.
These results also reflect the strong country-level partnership between PEPFAR and the Global Fund in support of host nations. The U.S. Government, as a founding member of the Global Fund and its largest contributor, continues to play a leadership role in ensuring the success of this essential international effort.
Since 2001, the American people have invested more than $2.5 billion in the Global Fund, providing approximately 30 percent of its total resources.
“Only a few years ago, many doubted whether prevention, treatment and care could ever successfully be provided in resource-limited settings, where HIV was a death sentence,” said Ambassador Mark Dybul, PEPFAR Coordinator. “Today, while much remains to be done, the skeptics have been proven wrong. Millions of people are on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment in developing countries, and many millions more have benefited from prevention and care programs.”
Since the program’s inception, PEPFAR has supported prevention of mother-to child-transmission for women during more than 12.7 million pregnancies. For pregnant women found to be HIV-positive, it has provided antiretroviral prophylaxis in more than one million pregnancies, preventing transmission of HIV to an estimated 194,000 infants.
PEPFAR is on target to achieve its ambitious goals of supporting treatment for two million people, prevention of seven million new infections, and care for 10 million people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, including orphans and vulnerable children.