U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has released the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, 2009. The report highlights the achievements of the first five years of PEPFAR, the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in human history.
When PEPFAR was announced, President George Bush set out an aggressive goal of supporting treatment for 2 million people, preventing 7 million new infections, and care for 10 million people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that in 2003, only 50,000 people living with HIV in all of Sub-Saharan Africa were receiving antiretroviral treatment.
Ahead of schedule, the U.S. has fulfilled its commitment to support treatment for 2 million people. As of September 30th, 2008, PEPFAR supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 2 million men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS around the world.
PEPFAR has also supported prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services for women during nearly 16 million pregnancies, allowing an estimated 237,0000 babies to be born without HIV.
In addition, more than 10 million people affected worldwide now receive care, including more than 4 million orphans and vulnerable children. Of course, the best way to help children keep their parents is to keep their parents from becoming infected in the first place and to provide treatment for the parents who need it.
Going forward, PEPFAR continues to set aggressive goals. Through 2013, PEPFAR plans to work in partnership with host nations to support treatment for at least 3 million people, prevent 12 million new infections, and care for 12 million people, including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children.
But PEPFAR is far more than the sum of its statistics. As President George Bush has said, what PEPFAR has really done is to provide hope. A disease that was once thought to be a death sentence, a disease that was once thought sure to separate parents from their children, is now a disease that America is helping people to live with and to manage, so that they can be a part of their children's lives going forward.