Congress passes bipartisan bill to reauthorize PEPFAR, America’s signature global AIDS program

WASHINGTON – The ONE Campaign today applauded the Senate’s passage of the PEPFARExtension Act of 2018 that would reauthorize America’s signature global AIDS program through 2023. The bill, which has already passed the House of Representatives, now heads to the President’s desk where he is expected to sign it into law.

When PEPFAR first launched in 2004, roughly 375,000 people in critical countries were receiving treatment. Today, PEPFAR provides life-saving HIV/AIDS treatment to roughly 14 million people. 2.4 million babies have been born HIV-free to HIV-positive mothers as a result of the program.

Tom Hart, North America executive director at The ONE Campaign:

 “When President George W. Bush launched PEPFAR 15 years ago, 5,000 people were dying from AIDS every day and another 7,000 people were being infected with HIV. PEPFAR’s transformative impact on the global AIDS epidemic has been without parallel in human history, measured not only in dollars but in lives saved. 

“For years, both Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, have put saving lives above politics. The passage of this bill is both a strong testament to PEPFAR’s efficient, effective and transparent track record of results and the bipartisan support on which the program was founded. Representatives Chris Smith and Barbara Lee and Senators Bob Corker and Bob Menendez should be applauded for their championing of this bill, as well as the critical support from the Administration. In addition, ONE would also like to acknowledge the valuable roles that Chairman Ed Royce and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have played throughout their distinguished careers in supporting PEPFAR and the fight against AIDS.

“While this bill represents another positive step forward, the fight against AIDS is far from over. AIDS is not a disease of the past, it is a crisis now that claims 2,500 lives every day. PEPFAR is only as strong as the appropriations that enable the program to carry out its life-saving work.

“In the coming months, President Trump will release his FY 2020 budget, which will send a strong signal to the rest of the world about America’s commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. President Trump’s budget should both contain full funding for PEPFARand maintain funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at one-third of its total. Now is not a time for complacency. America must continue to lead the global fight against aids that we have proudly led for the past two decades.”

FACTS ABOUT THE HIV/AIDS CRISIS

  • Nearly 7,000 young women are infected with HIV every week.
  • 37 million people are living with HIV today, and more than 15 million of them can’t get life-saving treatment.
  • Only half of children with HIV can access life-saving treatment.
  • The global fight against AIDS is off-track, and we are unlikely to reach many of the targets for treatment and prevention that experts had set for 2020.
  • The world is also investing 20 percent less than what’s needed to end the epidemic by 2030.
  • On the current trajectory, by 2050, when the population of those in sub-Saharan Africa most vulnerable to AIDS has doubled, the epidemic will have spread beyond our ability to stop it.