Statement by Ambassador Deborah L. Birx
Next week, thousands of scientists, activists, implementers, and leaders from around the world will convene at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Paris, France. This is a historic moment in the global HIV/AIDS response. The Trump Administration remains committed to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to not only save lives, but to also change the very course of the HIV pandemic.
PEPFAR will continue to invest in over 50 countries, maintain life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART) for all of the people we support, provide services for orphans and vulnerable children, ensure that the most vulnerable and key populations have access to essential services to prevent and treat HIV, and accelerate progress toward controlling the pandemic in a subset of countries.
At this seminal moment, PEPFAR has a unique opportunity to accelerate its progress toward reaching epidemic control by 2020 through the UNAIDS 90-90-90 framework and expansion of HIV prevention in 13 high-burden countries while sustaining support to all countries and populations where PEPFAR works. In the last 6 months, PEPFAR has already shown that through the U.S. investments in PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the rate of new infections in three high-HIV-burdened countries (Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) has decreased by more than 50 percent. This tremendous impact demonstrates that PEPFAR’s prevention and treatment programs are beginning to control these countries’ HIV epidemics.
Beyond these 13 high-burden countries, in addition to maintaining life-saving ART to all people we currently support, PEPFAR will continue to expand both HIV prevention and treatment services, where possible, through increased performance, efficiency gains, and shared responsibility of all partners. PEPFAR is committed to its foreign assistance investments achieving even greater outcomes and impacts through the use of granular data, which are linked to expenditures for increased efficiency and effectiveness of these key programs. In countries where PEPFAR is not the primary HIV funder and/or service delivery provider, it will continue its work with partner governments, the Global Fund, UNAIDS, and others to ensure access to services for all populations.
Today, PEPFAR is also proud to announce its latest program results. As of March 30, 2017, PEPFAR supported 12.3 million men, women, and children with life-saving antiretroviral treatment and more than 12.5 million voluntary medical male circumcisions, putting PEPFAR on track to achieve its ambitious HIV prevention and treatment targets for the end of 2017.
As a global community, we have made remarkable progress, yet more work needs to be done. This week alone, more than 16,000 adults and 2,300 children died from AIDS-related causes. More than 32,000 adults were infected with HIV, including nearly 7,000 young women. The U.S. government continues to lead the way in the HIV/AIDS response, thanks to the generosity of the American people, but no one country alone can end the AIDS pandemic. It will take all partners doing their part to reach this goal, all of whom must continue and accelerate their contributions.
Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy.