The world has made huge progress against HIV in the past decade, thanks in large part to American leadership. Last week, Congress continued that commitment by confirming Ambassador Deborah Birx as the head of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Together with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund), PEPFAR has played a fundamental role in transforming the trajectory of the global HIV epidemic:
- More than 9.7 million people in low- and middle-income countries are now receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART);
- The number of people receiving ART in sub-Saharan Africa is 150 times greater than the number of people who had access a decade ago;
- Access to treatment and quality care have prevented 4.2 million deaths in developing countries changing HIV infection from a death sentence into a manageable condition;
- Effective international partnerships are expanding access to treatment and prevention while helping developing countries take ownership of the response to HIV.
Despite this tremendous progress, we must recognize that the job of fighting HIV is far from over. Too many people still lack access to life-saving prevention, treatment, and care. And while we have more tools than ever to fight HIV, we need better tools and more resources to end the pandemic.
As the world transitions from the successful implementation of an emergency response to AIDS to the equally important job of building sustained access to HIV prevention and treatment, continued leadership from PEPFAR and the Global Fund will be critical.
We look forward to working with Ambassador Birx and her team, affected communities, and many other partners to ensure that the world maximizes the human impact of every dollar invested in HIV.