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Ambassador Mark R. Dybul
Ambassador Mark R. Dybul
US Global AIDS Coordinator

November 30, 2007

Mark R. Dybul

Thank you very much for joining me for this discussion prior to World AIDS Day. This morning, I joined President Bush and Mrs. Bush at a small church in Maryland, where they met with representatives of faith-based groups that are working to care for people living with HIV and prevent others from getting the virus. This morning, to commemorate World AIDS Day, the President announced the latest results achieved by his Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. In severely affected countries around the world, PEPFAR has supported antiretroviral treatment for approximately 1.45 million people. We've also made exciting progress in the areas of prevention and care, demonstrating the power of partnerships with the people of the world – including governments, non-governmental organizations including faith- and community-based organizations and the private sector. These partnerships are building capacity that will allow communities to sustain their efforts long after the Emergency Plan.

I look forward to answering your questions. Please visit our website,, for more information on how the American people are working in partnership with the people of the world to fight global HIV/AIDS.

Marty, from St. Peters Missouri writes:
What has President Bush done in the last seven years to help stop the spread of AIDS?

Mark R. Dybul
In 2003, with bipartisan Congressional support, President Bush announced the Emergency Plan – a five-year, $15-billion, comprehensive approach to combating HIV/AIDS around the world. The program is the largest commitment ever by a single nation toward an international public health initiative. The United States now leads the world in its level of support for the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Through the Emergency Plan, the U.S. Government is working with international, national and local leaders worldwide to support integrated prevention, treatment and care programs. PEPFAR employs the most diverse prevention, treatment and care strategy in the world, with an emphasis on transparency and accountability for results. The goals of the Emergency Plan include support for treatment for 2 million HIV infected people, support for prevention of 7 million new infections, and support for care for 10 million people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.

The success of the Emergency Plan is firmly rooted in partnerships, in the American people working hand in hand with the people of the world to build systems and to empower individuals, communities and nations to tackle HIV/AIDS. And in just three and one-half years, it is working. As I mentioned, PEPFAR is supporting antiretroviral treatment for 1.45 million people. Through September 30 of this year, PEPFAR has also supported prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services for women during more than 10 million pregnancies; antiretroviral prophylaxis for women during 800,000 pregnancies; prevention of an estimated 152,000 infant infections; care for nearly 6.7 million, including care for more than 2.7 million orphans and vulnerable children; and over 30 million counseling and testing sessions for men, women and children.

Hwang, from South Korea writes:
How Much Bush administration spends in fighting AIDS or HIV? And where is the most needed place in the world?

Mark R. Dybul
Through 2008, the Bush Administration expects to provide approximately $18.3 billion to fight HIV/AIDS abroad. The American people will have committed $48.3 billion over 10 years to fight HIV/AIDS internationally if Congress continues to support the President’s plan, including his proposal to provide $30 billion over the next five years. For more information on U.S. Government support for the fight against global HIV/AIDS, see our Funding fact sheet at

The majority of this funding goes to support programs in 15 “focus countries” that are, together, home to approximately half of the people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Twelve of these focus countries are located in sub-Saharan Africa, which, with 22.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS, is the hardest-hit region in the world.

China, from KCMO writes:
Ambassador Dybul; what is the purpose of World AIDS Day?

Mark R. Dybul
World AIDS Day is an opportunity to remember the more than 20 million people who have died from AIDS and support the approximately 33 million people who are currently living with HIV. It is also a time to recommit ourselves to compassionate action and the power of partnerships that are creating new hope. The U.S. Government theme for World AIDS Day this year is “The Power of Partnerships” to highlight the successes and future promise of partnerships in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Working together through partnerships, the American people and the people of the world can and will achieve much more in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The international theme for World AIDS Day this year is "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise," and the United States is doing just that.

Carrie, from Austin, TX writes:
PEPFAR seems to have made a big difference in Africa, but there seems to be so much more work to do. How do you prioritize your treatment efforts? Thank you for your service to our country

Regards, Carrie

Mark R. Dybul
As I’ve said, sub-Saharan Africa is the hardest hit region in the world, with 68 percent of the people living with HIV/AIDS and 76 percent of AIDS deaths occurring in the region. The U.S. has therefore focused its efforts there, because that’s where they’re most needed. But the U.S. is also working in other regions; two of the focus countries, Haiti and Guyana, are located in the Caribbean, and a third, Vietnam, is located in Asia. Along with the focus countries, we also have other bilateral programs all around the world, which have received approximately 12 percent of PEPFAR funds. Here you can find out more about the countries where we are privileged to work in support of host countries and national HIV/AIDS strategies:

And, finally, the U.S. is the largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, having contributed more than $2.5 billion to support its worldwide programming. The Fund plays a critical role in our strategy and provides other nations with a vehicle to sharply increase their contributions to the fight, as the American people have done.

Ricky, from Boston writes:
Dear Ambassador Dybyl, My high school historu class has just finished studying the AIDS Epidemic and its history. At one point during the lesson, we discussed the idea (because my teacher saw an article about it) that the AIDS Epidemic has reached its peak and is slowly begining to fall. Do you agree with this idea? Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

Mark R. Dybul
UNAIDS and the World Health Organization recently released a report in which they revised the number of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide downward, from 39.5 million to 33.2 million. The reduction was due primarily to changes in the way they calculate the estimates, but they also reported that, over the past few years, the number of people becoming newly infected with HIV and the number of people dying of AIDS has dropped slightly. This is certainly good news, but there is still a lot of work to be done. With 6,800 new infections and 5,700 deaths due to AIDS every day, we must continue to expand our efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS. For further thoughts on the report, please see

Stefany, from Washington, DC writes:
What types of programs does PEPFAR support with the private sectors in the local communities?

Mark R. Dybul
HIV/AIDS. We use public-private partnerships (PPPs) to bring HIV/AIDS interventions to scale, enhance the effectiveness of programs, and fully integrate the gains that PEPFAR is supporting into the future health and development plans of partner countries.

For example, the Mututa Memorial Center in Zambia that Mrs. Bush visited in June has benefited from a public-private partnership that has distributed approximately 500,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated nets that provide protection against malaria. You can read Mrs. Bush’s remarks at Mututa at /news/releases/2007/06/20070628-5.html. The founder of the Mututa Center, Mrs. Chilufya, was kind enough to travel from Zambia to join the President and Mrs. Bush at this morning’s event in Maryland.

Our website has an entire section dedicated to public-private partnerships:

Sally, from Baltimore, MD writes:
What is the status with regard to Bush's plan to provide PEPFAR with another $30 million dollars? Is that enough money to tackle this problem?

Mark R. Dybul
On May 30, 2007, President Bush proposed an additional $30 billion to fight global HIV/AIDS over the next five years, a doubling of the initial U.S. commitment. Along with this he proposed setting new goals – increasing the number of infections prevented from 7 to 12 million, those supported on treatment from 2 to 2.5 million, and those supported on care from 10 to 12 million, including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children. Here is more information on what the President proposed: /news/releases/2007/05/20070530-5.html.

President Bush challenged the G-8 leaders to respond to the U.S. commitment, and in June, the G-8 committed $60 billion dollars to support HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs over the next few years. For the first time, the other G-8 leaders agreed to join America in supporting country-owned, national programs to meet specific, numerical goals: support treatment for 5 million people, prevent 24 million new infections, and care for 24 million people, including 10 million orphans and vulnerable children.

As you can see, with the $30 billion commitment the U.S. will be supporting half of the total G-8 commitment, reaffirming the United States’ historic leadership in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. The American people’s generosity and compassion remain strong.

Lucy, from Los Angeles writes:
Ambassador Dybul: How close are we to finding a cure for HIV and AIDS?

Mark R. Dybul
Many dedicated people, including researchers at the National Institutes of Health (I used to be one), are working hard to advance science to allow us to cure HIV/AIDS. NIH is making a massive investment in finding both a vaccine that can prevent HIV infection and a cure for those infected.

Unfortunately, we are not yet close to finding either a vaccine or a cure for HIV/AIDS. For now, we must talk about HIV as a chronic disease, requiring lifelong treatment and care. Like many chronic diseases we're not able to cure – diabetes, hypertension – HIV is a chronic infectious disease which we can treat, not cure. And most importantly, we must make the best possible use of the prevention approaches we currently have available – and PEPFAR is leading in this area with the world’s most diverse range of prevention activities.

Carole, from NYC writes:
I would like to get more involved in the fight against HIVAIDS, what can my family and I do? Sincerely, Carole

Mark R. Dybul
I always like it when I get questions like this – and I get a lot of them – because it shows the tremendous compassion and generosity of the American people. There are a couple of things you can do right now. You can look on our website for all of the organizations that we fund ( Many of these organizations, as well as many others, are doing great work on HIV/AIDS and rely on contributions from private citizens, and you might consider supporting them.

In terms of contributing, we also encourage people to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The United States is the largest contributor to the Global Fund, and I represent the U.S. on its Board. But the Global Fund is also a great way for private citizens to contribute.

Mark R. Dybul
Thank you very much for your questions! World AIDS Day is an opportunity to remember the more than 20 million people who have died from AIDS and support the approximately 33 million people who are currently living with HIV. It is also a time to recommit ourselves to compassionate action and the power of partnerships that are creating new hope.