Reauthorizing PEPFAR: 25 Million Lives Saved and Progress Towards Eliminating HIV
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is widely seen as one of the most successful programs in global health history. This year, Congress is considering its fourth reauthorization, and it is imperative that the program be reauthorized in order to sustain the gains made in the fight against HIV and other infectious diseases.
Since its inception in 2003, PEPFAR has provided antiretroviral therapy (ART) to over 20 million people in 54 countries. The program has funded laboratory infrastructure, information systems, health workers and cadres of peer educators, among other endeavors. This investment has resulted in 25 million lives saved and the prevention of nearly half a million HIV infections in countries like Uganda.
The CDC has played a critical role in PEPFAR’s implementation, providing support to more than 10,000 labs or testing sites that offer lifesaving treatment worldwide and improving methods for finding, treating and preventing HIV.
Large CDC-supported household surveys in six African countries found increases in population viral load suppression rates between 2015 and 2021, ranging from 13% in Lesotho to 19% in Malawi. This is a testament to the success of PEPFAR’s efforts in reducing morbidity and mortality due to HIV and preventing its transmission.
In order to continue making progress towards eliminating HIV as a global public health threat by 2030, the U.S. must recognize the successes of PEPFAR and use the lessons of the program to tackle other humanitarian crises. To ensure this, Congress must move swiftly to reauthorize the program and continue its support for partner governments.
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