Smith’s Extension of Life-Saving HIV/AIDS Program Becomes Law
Rep. Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) five-year, $30 billion extension of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was signed into law by President Donald Trump today at the White House, continuing a successful program that has saved tens of millions of lives.
“Each year we are closer and closer to achieving an AIDS-free world, and an AIDS-free generation, and my law will bring us one giant step closer to achieving this goal,” Smith stated. “So much has been accomplished since the beginning of PEPFAR 15 years ago—more than 16 million lives have been saved because of the program.”
“And yet much more remains to be done—every week, according to UNAIDS approximately 19,000 people die of AIDS-related illnesses. Roughly 37 million people around the world are infected with HIV,” Smith said. “This law continues the fight against HIV/AIDS with the hope of one day eradicating this epidemic.”
Smith’s PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018 extends for five years and $30 billion a successful international AIDS relief program that has saved an estimated 16 million lives.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of PEPFAR, the U.S. government’s effort to fight global HIV/AIDS which began under President Bush and has continued under the Obama Administration and into the Trump Administration. The program is a bipartisan success story:
Under PEPFAR, the U.S. has invested more than $80 billion in bilateral HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis programs and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria;
· PEPFAR has emphasized a long-term approach to treating HIV/AIDS, funding specific training of health care workers in partner countries. In 2017, PEPFAR invested nearly $600 million in health care systems;
· To learn from the best in innovation and expertise in fighting HIV/AIDS, PEPFAR leverages public-private partnerships by working with many organizations from international to local levels: foreign governments, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, multilateral institutions, international organizations, civil society and faith-based organizations, and people living with HIV;
· PEPFAR uses data to more effectively determine the populations at the highest risk of HIV/AIDS, and target those populations for treatment and prevention;
· Since 2003, PEPFAR has saved an estimated 16 million lives, and global AIDS-related deaths have fallen in half since 2005;
· 13 countries today are on track to control their HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2020;
· Before PEPFAR, only some 50,000 people in Africa had access to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment. Now, approximately 14 million receive treatment for HIV/AIDS;
· Thanks to antiretrovirals, some 2.2 million babies have been born HIV-free to HIV positive mothers;
· Since the start of PEPFAR new HIV infections have declined between 41-76%.