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 Home > News & Policies > April 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 2, 2008

PEPFAR: An Unprecented Commitment to Fighting HIV/AIDS

Congress Should Continue The American People's Historic Commitment To Combat HIV/AIDS Around The World

"Today, the full House is scheduled to consider bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.  During the President and Mrs. Bush's trip to Africa in February, we saw firsthand this program's positive impact on people's lives across Africa.  This bill retains the important policy principles that have made PEPFAR such a success, and we strongly urge Members to support its passage.  We commend the House for taking this critical step in the reauthorization process and encourage Congress to send a bill to the President's desk so that America can continue this incredibly successful program."
 – White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, 4/2/08

President Bush calls on Congress to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and pass H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act.  In 2003, President Bush launched the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), committing $15 billion over five years to combat global HIV/AIDS – the largest international health initiative in history to fight a single disease.  In 2007, the President requested that Congress double our original funding commitment for this successful program to $30 billion over five years.

  • H.R. 5501 retains core principles that have made PEPFAR such a success in its first five years.

  • This bipartisan legislation will preserve PEPFAR's goal-oriented focus on supporting HIV/AIDS treatment, care, and prevention.  The legislation before Congress calls for supporting treatment of three million individuals with HIV/AIDS, prevention of 12 million new infections, and care for 12 million individuals – including five million orphans and vulnerable children.

PEPFAR Reauthorization Legislation Is Consistent With The Program's Successful, Founding Principles

Abstinence and Be Faithful (AB) programs are essential components of the U.S. Government's comprehensive, evidence-based, and balanced approach to preventing sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS.  The legislation before Congress will restore meaningful funding for AB programs and maintain the core principle of AB as part of an effective prevention approach. 

  • This legislation creates the expectation that 50 percent of funding to prevent sexual transmission will be spent on AB programs in countries with generalized epidemics. 

The anti-prostitution and sex-trafficking policy requirement is critical to the effectiveness of our strategy to fight global HIV/AIDS.  Prostitution and sex trafficking are abusive and dehumanizing to women, and they fuel the spread of HIV.  This legislation preserves the current law requiring that organizations receiving U.S. Government money:

  1. Not use PEPFAR funds to promote or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution or sex trafficking; and
  2. Have a policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.

Faith- and community-based partners are highly effective in combating the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.  The legislation's strengthened conscience clause is critical to ensuring continued participation by faith- and community-based partners, which are uniquely positioned to promote HIV/AIDS stigma reduction and prevention messages, as well as to provide counseling and testing, home care, clinical services, and other interventions. The bill ensures that these organizations will not be required to participate in or refer to any program or activity to which they have a religious or moral objection and ensures that they will not be discriminated against in procurement for refusing to do so.
The United States leads the world in its support of the Global Fund (GF) to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.  The U.S. made the Fund's founding contribution and has pledged over $3.5 billion and contributed approximately $2.5 billion to date – far more than any other nation. 

  • In accordance with the original PEPFAR law, the bill has a 33 percent funding cap, ensuring that for every $1 dollar the United States provides, the rest of the world must contribute $2.  The bill includes new benchmarks for the Global Fund on transparency and accountability.

PEPFAR Partnerships Are Turning The Tide Against Global HIV/AIDS

PEPFAR has already helped bring life-saving treatments to more than 1.4 million people around the world. 

  • As of the end of Fiscal Year 2007, PEPFAR was supporting life-saving antiretroviral treatment for approximately 1.36 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the 15 focus countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.  When the President announced PEPFAR in 2003, only 50,000 people in all of sub-Saharan Africa were receiving treatment.

PEPFAR is partnering with local communities and indigenous organizations, including faith- and community-based organizations, to support treatment, care, and prevention activities.  PEPFAR has also:

  • Supported more than 33 million counseling and testing sessions for men, women, and children. 
  • Supported care for nearly 6.6 million individuals, including care for more than 2.7 million orphans and vulnerable children.
  • Supported prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services for women during more than 10 million pregnancies from Fiscal Year 2004 to Fiscal Year 2007.
  • Supported prevention of an estimated 157,000 infant infections.

As a result of President and Mrs. Bush's leadership, in June 2007 the United States and other G-8 nations demonstrated their commitment to work with Africa and set a goal of supporting treatment for five million HIV/AIDS-infected individuals, preventing 24 million new infections, and caring for 24 million people, including 10 million orphans and vulnerable children.

What They're Saying

Los Angeles Times: "By providing life-saving drugs to HIV-positive pregnant women, the President's program claims to have prevented 157,000 infants from becoming infected. This is a huge accomplishment."  (Editorial, "Married to HIV," Los Angeles Times, 2/22/08)

The Houston Chronicle: "One of the best things President George W. Bush ever did was to launch a massive program against AIDS in the world's poorest countries."  "President Bush saved the lives of thousands when he launched PEPFAR.  Congress can save millions more by reauthorizing its successor."  (Editorial, "Modern Medicine," The Houston Chronicle, 3/24/08)

The San Diego Union-Tribune: "His President's Emergency Plan for AIDS relief, popularly known in sub-Saharan Africa as PEPFAR, has channeled $18 billion into treatment and prevention throughout the region and the rest of the developing world."  (Editorial, "Helping Africa; Bush Visit Will Highlight America's Successes," The San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/16/08)

The Christian Science Monitor: "When President Bush announced the signature $15 billion President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), there were murmurs of disbelief amid the applause.  But five years later, PEPFAR is still the largest and most comprehensive program for HIV patients in history, and may have saved millions of lives."  (Scott Baldauf and Jina Moore, "Bush Sees Results Of His AIDS Plan In Africa," The Christian Science Monitor, 2/20/08)

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