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George W. Bush Institute, PEPFAR, and UNAIDS Announce Partnership to End Aids and Cervical Cancer

Public-private partnership builds off of life-saving accomplishments of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership; Aims to eliminate cervical cancer deaths among HIV-positive women in sub-Saharan Africa within a generation

May 11, 2018

Washington, D.C. (May 11, 2018) -- Today, the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) announced the Partnership to End AIDS and Cervical Cancer, designed to effectively eliminate cervical cancer deaths among HIV-positive women in sub-Saharan Africa within a generation.

PEPFAR will initially invest more than $30 million to implement screening and treatment for cervical cancer for HIV-positive women.  This investment in saving lives represents a three-fold increase over previous cervical cancer efforts. The partnership will also work to secure increased support for cervical cancer prevention via vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV).

“When we confront suffering – when we save lives – we breathe hope into devastated populations, strengthen and stabilize society, and make our country and the world safer,” said President George W. Bush. “This week, we are announcing the next phase of our partnership with PEPFAR and UNAIDS:  a plan to effectively eliminate cervical cancer amongst HIV-positive women within a generation.”

The new strategy, developed after months of collaboration between PEPFAR and the Bush Institute-led Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR) partnership, builds on the catalytic work of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon over the past seven years, and evolves that collaboration to save even more lives. Since its inception, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s efforts have: 

  • Screened over 500,000 women for cervical cancer in Botswana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zambia;
  • Treated nearly 32,000 of these women for pre-cancerous lesions; and,
  • Vaccinated nearly 150,000 girls aged 9 to 13-years old against HPV through pilot programs and demonstration projects.

Due to the high burden of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan African countries, cervical cancer remains the #1 cancer killer of women in the region, despite the fact that the disease is preventable through HPV vaccination, screening, and early treatment of pre-cancerous lesions.

The initial investment will focus on eight sub-Saharan African countries where the burden of HIV and cervical cancer is high, including Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. 

“This renewed partnership focuses on eight African countries where the HIV prevalence rate in women is over ten percent and cervical cancer mortality among women is the highest,” said Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “Through our refocused approach toward ending AIDS and cervical cancer among HIV-positive women in Africa, our investments will have an even greater lifesaving impact on the mothers, daughters, aunts, and grandmothers who we are so privileged to serve.”

The Partnership to End AIDS and Cervical Cancer will engage with country governments to ensure that HIV-positive women and girls are the priority in national cervical cancer prevention and control programs, and will work to secure increased support for HPV vaccination efforts. It will also bring together ministers, global health leaders, and funders to assess and improve implementation efforts and support the vital mission of PEPFAR. 

The Bush Institute today also announced the creation of the Bush Institute Global Health Advisory Council, which will be chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  The Council will serve to advise and provide support for sustaining investments in global health, raise awareness of increasing the response to cervical and breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, and engage the NGO and private sectors on these issues.

“I salute President Bush for his unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of women living with HIV.  This new partnership is as bold as his original vision for PEPFAR and will help protect millions of women living with HIV from the scourge of cervical cancer.  UNAIDS is committed to working with the Bush Institute and its new Global Health Advisory Council to ensure that the ambitious aspirations of the new partnership are fully realized,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon has been instrumental in establishing national cancer control policies and guidelines in five countries, attracting new resources and organizations to the fight against cervical and breast cancer, and, working with the CDC Foundation and the World Health Organization, helped develop the first-ever toolkit for measuring impact and outcomes across country cervical cancer programs that will be released later this year.




About George W. Bush Institute

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. For more information, please visit www.bushcenter.org.



PEPFAR is the United States government’s response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, which represents the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Through the compassion and generosity of the American people, PEPFAR has saved and improved millions of lives, accelerating progress toward controlling and ultimately ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat. For more information, please visit www.pepfar.gov, and connect with PEPFAR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.



The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.