Big news today, as this week both the Senate and House have passed the PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Stewardship and Oversight Act. The Act extends the program for another five years – through 2018, supporting international aid efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Since it’s establishment in 2003, PEPFAR has directly supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 5.1 million people, provided HIV testing and counseling for 11 million pregnant women and care and support to more that 15 million people.
The quick passage of this bill by both chambers of Congress demonstrates the bi-partisan commitment to combating HIV/AIDS around the world and indicates continued US support for one of its most successful and important global health programs. As we approach the Global Fund replenishment conference in December, this is an exciting and meaningful step in the right direction for global health advocates everywhere.
From GHC Executive Director Dr. Christine Sow: “The US Congress should be congratulated for the re-authorization of PEPFAR, which thanks to bipartisan support and strategic partnering has helped change the world we live in for the better. PEPFAR has funded ground-breaking interventions in response to the AIDS epidemic; these efforts have also had important spillover resulting in strengthened health systems and increased support for other critical health programs. The re-authorization of PEPFAR also underlines the importance of long-term funding in order to mount an adequate response to the devastation of the global AIDS crisis.”
Exciting news – we look forward to a continued US commitment to funding these life-saving programs in the coming years.