Location: United States Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C.
When President George W. Bush announced PEPFAR in 2003, less than 50,000 people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa had access to antiretroviral therapy. Today, PEPFAR has saved an estimated 21 million lives, and provides over 19 million people with necessary treatment. Although PEPFAR’s mandate is the prevention, care, and treatment of HIV, its impact has gone well beyond this. PEPFAR has strengthened health systems, emboldened democracies, supported economic growth, and advanced progress on human rights.
PEPFAR’s success derives in large part from its focus on accountability, transparency, impact, and equity. Underpinning these values is PEPFAR’s focus on collecting and using data in real time. This drives constant programmatic improvement and efficiencies, which have allowed for the expansion of life-saving services despite a flat budget. PEPFAR has been a win for both the countries it serves and for U.S. foreign policy.
But this work is not finished, especially given gaps in care among adolescent girls, young women, children, and other vulnerable populations. Congress and the American people should continue to support PEPFAR until the HIV/AIDS is no longer a threat. Quitting now would put our investments and the lives of the people PEPFAR serves at risk.
At this event, we will look back on PEPFAR’s success and learn how its model can inform U.S. engagement in global health and development more broadly. We will hear from those who were there at the creation of the program, those who have benefitted from it, as well as those who continue to work daily toward the global goal to end AIDS.