How The U.S. Helped Fight The Global AIDS Epidemic
A decade ago, President George W. Bush announced an unprecedented global health initiative: $15 billion over five years to fight HIV in developing countries.
"There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection," Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address. "Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims — only 50,000 — are receiving the medicine they need."
Congress quickly passed the bill. By the end of May 2003, thePresident’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, was law.
Over the past decade, the U.S. has spent more than $50 billion on PEPFAR, largely to test and treat people for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
Some health officials have questioned whether PEPFAR has drained money from addressing other problems. But in general, the initiative has been considered a success.
Nearly 10 million people around the world now have access to antiviral drugs, and treatment for two-thirds of these people is directly supported by PEPFAR, the U.S. government reported earlier this month. Treatment for HIV-positive mothers funded by PEPFAR prevented 740,000 infants from getting infected with the virus at birth.
Charts by Matt Stiles/NPR. Data from UNAIDS and PEPFAR.