About the Author: Ambassador Eric Goosby serves as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, leading all U.S. Government international HIV/AIDS efforts.World AIDS Day is always an occasion to reflect on the lives that have been lost, but also on the progress we have made and continue to make each day, through the hard work of many dedicated people:
• Through our partnerships with more than 30 countries, as of September 30, 2009, PEPFAR directly supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for over 2.4 million men, women and children. This represents more than half of the estimated four million individuals in low and middle-income countries on treatment.
• Through September 30, 2009, PEPFAR partnerships have directly supported care for nearly 11 million people affected by HIV/AIDS, including 3.6 million orphans and vulnerable children.
• In addition, in fiscal year 2009, PEPFAR directly supported prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs that allowed nearly 100,000 babies of HIV-positive mothers to be born HIV-free, adding to the nearly 240,000 babies born without HIV due to direct PEPFAR support during FYs 2004-2008.
These numbers are nothing short of remarkable. The achievements PEPFAR and our partners have made are paving a path towards an HIV-free future.
PEPFAR also launched our new Five-Year Strategy on World AIDS Day 2009. This document outlines the high-level direction of the program for its next phase as part of the President’s Global Health Initiative. It reflects lessons learned in the first five years of the program, expands existing commitments around service delivery, and places a heightened emphasis on sustainability. In addition to outlining the program’s overarching goals, the Five-Year Strategy announces new targets for the program around prevention, care and support, treatment, and sustainability.
I was pleased to share our strategy with the public yesterday; in the coming days, PEPFAR will release Annexes, which will supplement the strategy by explaining how PEPFAR will transition from an emergency response to a sustainable one in particular areas.
As we chart the course to sustainability, countries around the world are taking steps to increase their ownership of the fight. On World AIDS Day, South African President Jacob Zuma demonstrated bold leadership in calling on his fellow citizens to lead the fight against HIV/AIDS. He noted: “It is the time to act decisively, and to act together. Our message is simple. We have to stop the spread of HIV.” You can read President Zuma’s full World AIDS Day speech online here.
This is bold language, and it was accompanied by bold new commitments. This represents a major step forward for the South African Government (SAG), one that the global community is rightly applauding. With its large population of people living with HIV, South Africa is key to solving the global crisis. We're encouraged by the Government's action to craft a program to meet its people's needs in a sustainable way, and we'll continue to partner with them as they chart this new course.
To support South Africa’s leadership, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips announced that, pending Congressional notification, the U.S. Government (USG) plans to invest $120 million in one-time bridge funding from PEPFAR over two years to support the SAG in implementing a new plan to meet its country’s need for antiretroviral treatment. This support comes on top of the planned $560 million the United States will allocate to South Africa in fiscal year 2010 to support South Africa’s fight against AIDS. This funding will support the SAG’s effort to help many more South Africans gain access to antiretroviral treatment, and move the world closer to victory in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
South Africa’s efforts in the global AIDS fight are encouraging, and I am pleased to support President Zuma and the people of South Africa as South Africa’s partner in this fight. I look forward to continuing to partner with South Africa, and other countries around the world, as they work to turn the tide against HIV/AIDS.
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