Two new agreements will further the Obama administration's fight against HIV/AIDs in Africa. U.S. State Department officials have recently signed Partnership Frameworks with the governments of South Africa and Botswana under the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR. These five-year joint strategic plans aim to promote a sustainable approach to combating HIV/AIDS in the partner countries through service delivery, policy reform and coordinated financial commitments.
During the singing of the Partnership Framework with South Africa, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lauded South Africa for their prevention efforts, renewed leadership, and for responding by committing 60 percent of their country's spending to HIV/AIDS.
"There is so much being done at the grassroots level on prevention, efforts against discrimination, treating people with HIV, and doing so much more to put together a comprehensive strategy," she noted.
Secretary Clinton said the U.S. and South Africa have also collaborated on new scientific developments:
"We together have worked on the development of a promising microbicide that could prevent the transmission of the HIV virus," she said. "That was led by South African scientists, and it's the kind of new partnership we want to see more of together."
In Botswana, at the signing of their Partnership Framework, U.S. Ambassador Stephen J. Nolan discussed the success to date in fighting AIDS with America’s support.
"Now over 93 percent of people in Botswana who need antiretroviral treatment receive it, and they have an opportunity to live healthy, productive lives," he said. He also noted that nearly all HIV-positive mothers are now able to access treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission, so very few babies are being born HIV-positive.
Ambassador Nolan said that under the Framework "roadmap," the two countries will place a major emphasis on HIV prevention and strengthening the health system going forward.
PEPFAR's Partnership Frameworks are one way the U.S. works with partner countries to promote country ownership and establish sustainable means to combat HIV/AIDS. The U.S. has signed 18 similar Partnership Frameworks with countries around the globe. This emphasis on support for country ownership reflects the vision of President Obama's Policy Directive on Development and his Global Health Initiative.