About the Author: Ambassador Eric Goosby serves as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.
As we enter the final days of the International AIDS Conference here in Vienna, I have been heartened and encouraged by much of the recent news coming forth on the AIDS epidemic. PEPFAR, working through USAID, sponsored the CAPRISA 004 microbicide trial; the results announced here demonstrated new promise in developing additional tools to help women protect themselves from HIV. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that more than 5 million people worldwide have access to HIV treatment, a twelvefold increase from 2003. And the United Nations announced a 25 percent decline in HIV prevalence among youth in some of the hardest-hit countries in Africa. All of these developments are due in part to the extraordinary generosity of the American people.
At this conference, some have expressed concern regarding the overall resource levels to fight the global AIDS epidemic. Concentrating solely on dollars spent is a false metric of success. Rather, we should be concentrating on the numbers of people that now have access to prevention, care and treatment services, and working to support countries as they move to universal access. Through the efforts of multiple partners, WHO reports that more than 1.2 million were newly enrolled in treatment services last year -- representing the largest single-year increase in the history of the epidemic. At this conference, both President Bill Clinton and Bill Gates highlighted the ways in which cost-effective interventions, like male circumcision and task-shifting for health workers, can enable us to maximize the impact of our investments.
In PEPFAR -- the program that I am honored to lead -- we have been working not only to increase investments in prevention, care and treatment, but also to identify efficiencies and get the best value for money with our activities. Doing so will allow us to continue to scale up the services that provided treatment for nearly 2.5 million people and care for nearly 11 million people in FY 2009. Recent studies show that PEPFAR's cost per-patient on treatment has declined to $436. This decrease is due in no small part to efficiencies we've been able to gain in service delivery and commodity procurement, including over $320 million saved through the use of generic ARVs through 2008. And all of these statistics don't capture the overall health systems strengthening impact of U.S. government investments in HIV/AIDS. The clinics we've renovated and built through PEPFAR house a multitude of services for communities impacted by HIV.
In this time of global economic crisis, the U.S. government is not only continuing, but expanding its leadership in the global AIDS response. Data just released at the International AIDS Conference reveals that the United States alone finances more than half of the global response to HIV/AIDS -- roughly 58% of the total. President Obama's 2011 budget request increases resources not only for HIV/AIDS, but other global health programs as well. These resources will help us to achieve our Global Health Initiative goals of supporting treatment for more than 4 million people, as well as care for more than 12 million and prevention for millions more.
In addition to PEPFAR, the U.S. government is also the largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. President Obama's FY 2011 budget request of $1 billion for the Global Fund is the largest request ever made. The Global Fund is especially important as a vehicle for donors that, unlike the United States, do not have large bilateral programs such as PEPFAR. In many countries around the world, PEPFAR and the Global Fund work in close conjunction with each other to support countries in responding to the AIDS epidemic, as well as the systems needed to respond to other health challenges.
There is still much more to do to turn the tide against this epidemic, and the U.S. commitment to those living with HIV/AIDS is unequivocal. I hope that we can build upon the momentum of this week in Vienna in partnership with countries, donors, multilaterals, people living with HIV, civil society, and the private sector. Two years from now, when we gather in Washington, DC for the next International AIDS Society conference, I look forward to being able to discuss the further gains we've made because of our commitment to efficiency, effectiveness, country ownership, and a shared global response to this epidemic.