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Go Further Partnership Reaches More Than One Million Women Living with HIV with First-Time Cervical Cancer Screenings

PEPFAR, the Bush Institute, UNAIDS, and Merck aim to end AIDS and cervical cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa within a generation through an innovative public-private partnership

December 1, 2020

DALLAS—Today, on World AIDS Day, Go Further partners announced that the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has conducted first-time cervical cancer screenings for 1,330,809 women living with HIV through the Go Further partnership. The partnership is focused on reducing new cervical cancer cases by 95% among women at highest risk for aggressive cervical cancer –the estimated 7.1 million women living with HIV who reside in twelve of the highest-burden African countries.

“I congratulate the PEPFAR teams in the Go Further countries, the governments prioritizing this work, and especially the brave women who face HIV and cervical cancer on reaching this milestone,” said President George W. Bush in a video message released this morning. “I am proud that the Bush Institute’s Go Further partnership with PEPFAR, UNAIDS, and Merck is ensuring women living with HIV have a bright and hopeful future.”

Launched in May 2018, Go Further is an innovative public-private partnership between PEPFAR, the George W. Bush Institute, UNAIDS, and Merck. For maximum impact, the partnership focuses on reaching women living with HIV in countries with among the highest HIV prevalence and cervical cancer incidence rates in the world.

“PEPFAR remains deeply committed to improving the health and wellbeing of women living with HIV,” said Ambassador Birx, M.D., United States Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “Go Further sends a powerful message that to save a woman from HIV means walking with her, at every stage of her life, to ensure she survives.”

Go Further began working in eight countries (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) to support cervical cancer screening and the treatment of precancerous lesions. This fall, Go Further has expanded services to four additional countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. PEPFAR has nearly doubled funding to Go Further for fiscal year 2021 and has committed $93 million over three years to the partnership.

An estimated 100,000 women are diagnosed annually with cervical cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa. Without treatment, 62% of these women would be expected to die from the disease.

Additionally, women living with HIV are six times more likely to develop invasive cervical cancer. To address these risks, Go Further is expanding the availability of vital cervical cancer screening, and providing treatment for precancerous lesions to women at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. With minimal additional investment, these low-cost interventions can save millions of lives and help secure global gains against HIV/AIDS.

“Partnerships like Go Further show that when we come together, we can save millions of women’s lives,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “By engaging with communities of women and integrating cervical cancer screening and treatment into existing HIV platforms – like the HIV treatment programmes led by PEPFAR—we can uphold millions of women’s right to health and end AIDS and cervical cancer in Africa.”

“Partnerships for impact matter,” said Carmen Villar, Vice President, Social Business Innovation, Merck. “Today’s announcement that over 1 million HIV positive women in Sub-Saharan Africa have been screened for cervical cancer since the Go Further partnership began is a significant demonstration of what can be accomplished with a collective commitment to women’s health”

The Go Further strategy builds on seven years of collaboration between PEPFAR and the Bush Institute and evolves the partnership to save more lives.

Learn more about Go Further at www.gofurther.org, and follow the partnership on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.