Today, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) celebrates its 20th anniversary, while honoring the 25 million lives that have been saved worldwide in the fight to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat.
On Jan. 28, 2003, President George W. Bush announced the establishment of PEPFAR during the State of the Union Address, leveraging years of HIV/AIDS research, coordinated humanitarian effort, bipartisan support from Congress, and engagement from community and faith-based organizations, and the private sector to create an unprecedented response to a global health crisis.
“Twenty years after the program was established, PEPFAR’s impact has been truly remarkable,” said U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Health Diplomacy Ambassador at Large Dr. John Nkengasong. “As we celebrate our accomplishments, we have to redouble our commitment to continuing the fight with our partner countries to ensure that we sustain the gains. Sustainability will be the driving force behind ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a public health threat by 2030.”
Prior to PEPFAR, the HIV/AIDS pandemic continued to rage unabated on a global scale, delivering a death sentence to millions of people. This pandemic had a particularly devastating impact on children in sub-Saharan Africa, resulting in millions of babies being born with HIV and others orphaned due to AIDS.
Two decades later, PEPFAR supports nearly 65 million people with HIV treatment and testing services, providing more than 20 million men, women, and children with life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART).
To build on the program’s enduring legacy, PEPFAR is reinvigorating the U.S. global response to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic by 2030, creating a healthier, safer, and more secure world for all. As part of a new five-year strategy, Fulfilling America’s Promise to End the HIV/AIDS Pandemic by 2030, PEPFAR is advocating for and working with partners to close health equity gaps in children, adolescent girls and young women, and key populations, while achieving sustained HIV impact worldwide to combat HIV/AIDS as a security threat amid other emerging health challenges.
After 20 years of remarkable impact, PEPFAR’s work is not yet finished. Through avid collaboration and transformative partnerships, PEPFAR is deeply committed to ending the inequities and service gaps that still stand in the way of progress so that it may advance even closer to ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic.