Monday marked the 10-year anniversary of an AIDS relief effort led by former President George W. Bush.
On May 27, 2003, Bush introduced the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Since then, new HIV infections have decreased worldwide by about 19% overall and 24% in children, Rep. Barbara Lee said Tuesday on AMR.
“I can’t think of any one more bipartisan effort that has been so successful in really saving so many lives and turning a death sentence into really now what is an ability for people to live a healthy life,” said Lee, a Democrat from California who helped in the effort a decade ago.
PEPFAR, the largest by any nation to combat a single disease internationally, increases gender equity in HIV/AIDS programs and services, including access to reproductive health services. It also prevents and responds to gender-based violence, engages men to address norms and behaviors, and increases women’s access to education and income resources.
“We remember the compassion that he showed by leading the global fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria, helping to save millions of lives and reminding people in some of the poorest corners of the globe that America cares and that we’re here to help,” President Obama said at last month’s dedication of the Bush presidential library.
Last year 230,000 babies were born HIV-free under PEPFAR.
“We’ve got to tweak and fix some of the provisions of the law that have undermined our efforts,” Lee said. “But I think we’re on the right track.”