PEPFAR at 15 – Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead to Success

By Michelle Batchelor September 20, 2018

This May marked the 15-year anniversary of The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In reflection, we’re excited to celebrate the impact the program has made on the health and wellness of millions of lives around the world. The work to end the HIV epidemic, however, is far from complete. There are approximately 37 million people currently living with HIV, and far too many of them do not have access to prevention methods, treatment, or care. Together with our allies, we’re committed to using the success we’ve achieved over the last 15 years to build momentum and keep pushing until the HIV epidemic is a concern of the past. 

PEPFAR’s evolution over the years has positioned us to control the HIV epidemic without a vaccine or a cure, giving us all reason to pause to celebrate and plan for important next steps. 

Because of PEPFAR, we’ve been able to make important strides in ending HIV, including: 

  • Giving over 14 million men, women, and children access to HIV medication 
  • Keeping 13 high-HIV-burden countries on track to achieve epidemic control by 2020
  • Ensuring 2.2 million babies were born HIV-free 
  • Providing training on HIV care and treatment to over 250,000 health care workers 
  • Providing 85.5 million people with HIV testing services 

PEPFAR has also been vital to advancing NASTAD’s Global work. With PEPFAR funding, we have developed several resources and tools for and with governmental public health systems around the world. We have used funds to establish case-based surveillance in Haiti , we have completed behavioral studies in Trinidad focused on MSM and female sex workers, initiated a successful return to care campaign in Jamaica, anddeveloped, implemented, and transitioned sustainable systems strengthening tools to Botswana Ministry of Health—to name a few. 

PEPFAR has strong bipartisan support and is one of the most effective U.S. foreign aid programs available. It has powerful relationships with faith-based organizations, philanthropy groups, and foreign governments that have helped position communities and people around the world to help end the HIV epidemic. We must be just as committed to today as we were 15 years ago to ending the HIV epidemic, including reauthorizing PEPFAR and Global Fund, and doing everything possible to ensure that the people most impacted by HIV and AIDS are treated with dignity and respect, and provided with the resources needed to prevent the spread of HIV, treat impacted individuals, and achieve health equity for all communities. As advocates and civil servants, we should not be content to rest until this happens. 

We hope you can join us and our honorary co-host Sen. Johnny Isakson this Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Russell Senate Office Building as we celebrate all the progress made over the last 15 years and discuss what’s next for PEPFAR. We also invite you to share your own victories and inspiring stories because of PEPFAR via #PEPFAR15.