“We welcome the Obama administration’s announcement of a farsighted effort to treat millions more [people living with HIV] abroad, especially in sub-Saharan Africa,” a New York Times editorial writes. “The administration expects that the expanded treatments can be paid for with existing resources, by pushing for greater efficiencies and more financing from recipient nations. But if that effort stalls, the administration should re-evaluate quickly whether to ask Congress for money,” the editorial states.
Daniela Ligiero of the State Department, Sasha Mital of the CDC, and Diana Prieto of USAID, who are co-chairs of the PEPFAR Gender Technical Working Group, write about the “intersection between gender-based violence (GBV) and its impact on HIV risk and access to HIV prevention and treatment for most-at-risk populations…
UNAIDS, PEPFAR Announce 5-Year Action Framework To Scale Up Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision For HIV Prevention
UNAIDS and PEPFAR on Monday at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa (ICASA) “launched a five-year action framework to accelerate the scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention,” according to a UNAIDS press release. “The framework — developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, PEFPAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank in consultation with national Ministries of Health — calls for the immediate roll-out and expansion of VMMC services in 14 priority countries of eastern and southern Africa,” the release notes (12/5).
“With donor support flagging around the world, U.S. leadership is crucial. Congress must fully fund its global health programs, especially the Global Fund” to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Joyce Kamwana, a Global Fund “HERE I AM” campaign ambassador, writes in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” She adds, “Reducing support for global health would put millions of people at risk” and “would deal a devastating blow to the global fight against AIDS, which has reached a critical point.”
“The public and private sectors have achieved remarkable success in Africa in the battle against AIDS, and the question now is: Where do we go from here?” James Glassman, founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute and former under secretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy, writes in this Forbes opinion piece. Noting the “incredible accomplishment” made in fighting HIV/AIDS over the past decade, Glassman says “the first answer to where we go from here is more of the same, and then some,” and states that the UNAIDS targets of “Zero new HIV infections” and “Zero AIDS-related deaths” “soun[d] right.”
In this Brookings opinion piece, Mwangi Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI), and Jessica Smith, a research assistant at AGI, reflect on George W. Bush’s four-day tour of Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia, where he will “focus on some of the initiatives that [he] advocated for and strongly supported while in office.” They write, “Despite demonstrating a unique commitment to the African continent, …Â Bush’s record tends to be underrated,” but he “has high approval rating on the continent itself, making it instructive to reflect on the former president’s African initiatives, which bring him such admiration from sub-Saharan Africa.”
“Zambian President Michael Sata on Friday told former U.S. president George W. Bush that the West should help fight the scourge of maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa,” Agence France-Presse reports, adding, “Bush is in Zambia on the second stop of a three-nation trip aimed at promoting efforts to fight diseases like cancer, AIDS and malaria” (12/3). While in Zambia, “Bush and his wife … launched a project … to expand the availability of cervical cancer screening, treatment and breast care education,” making the country “the first … to become part of the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon project,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times writes (12/2).
Speaking at the ONE campaign and (RED)’s “Beginning of the End of AIDS” event at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., to mark World AIDS Day on Thursday, “President Obama … announced a deepened U.S. commitment to fighting the pandemic, declaring ‘make no mistake, we are going to win this fight,'” ABC News reports (Bruce, 12/1). Obama said his administration is “setting a goal of providing antiretroviral [ARV] drugs to more than 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women over the next two years” to help prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, and “setting a new target of helping six million people get [ARV] treatment by the end of 2013,” two million more people than the original goal, according to the speech transcript (12/1). A White House fact sheet adds PEPFAR will support more than 4.7 million voluntary medical male circumcisions in Eastern and Southern Africa and the U.S. will distribute more than one billion condoms worldwide over the next two years. The fact sheet notes PEPFAR’s “continued focus on lowering costs and finding efficiencies will allow us to achieve these ambitious targets with existing resources” (12/1).
President Barack Obama on Thursday renewed the U.S. commitment to ending HIV/AIDS in a speech marking World AIDS Day, and was joined by former presidents Bill Clinton, who participated by video, and George W. Bush, who spoke from Tanzania with that country’s President, Jakaya Kikwete, the Independent reports (Popham, 12/1). According to the Associated Press, Obama announced U.S. “goal[s] of getting antiretroviral drugs to two million more people around the world by the end of 2013,” bringing the total to six million people, and “to 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent them from passing the virus to their children.” The news agency continues, “Despite Obama’s more ambitious goals,” which build on existing PEPFAR programs, “the plan’s budget is not expected to increase. Instead, officials said the expanded targets would be funded through savings achieved by making the program more efficient and cutting the costs of treatment” (Pace, 12/1).
GlobalPost examines the “collision of scientific advances vs. economic realities” in the fight against HIV/AIDS in a special report as part of its “Healing the World” series. “Thirty years after the discovery of AIDS, scientists believe for the first time that they now have the tools to beat back the deadly virus. … But the gloomy global economic situation, and recent scale-backs in HIV funding around the world, have cast great doubt as to whether policymakers will take advantage of the combination of new prevention tools to fight AIDS,” the article states, noting that “President Obama is expected on Thursday — World AIDS Day — to talk about his administration’s next steps on AIDS, … his first major speech on AIDS as president” (Donnelly, 11/30).