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The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Although the U.S. has been involved in efforts to address the global AIDS crisis since the mid-1980s, the creation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003 marked a significant increase in funding and attention to the epidemic.1,2  First proposed by President George W. Bush in January 2003, PEPFAR was authorized by the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-25),3 a 5-year, $15 billion initiative to combat global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria primarily for 15 hard hit “focus countries,” and multilateral contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund),4 as well as UNAIDS.1

In 2008, PEPFAR was reauthorized by the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-293 or “Lantos-Hyde”),5 for an additional 5 years (FY 2009-FY 2013) at up to $48 billion, including $39 billion for HIV and the Global Fund, $4 billion for TB, and $5 billion for malaria.  Reauthorization also relaxed prior spending directives, emphasized country partnerships and health systems strengthening (HSS), mandated 5-year strategic plans for HIV, TB, and malaria, and ended the statutory ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants wishing to come to the United States.  In 2013, the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-56) extended a number of existing authorities and strengthened the oversight of the program through updated reporting requirements.6

PEPFAR continues to be a cornerstone of U.S. global health efforts and of the HIV response around the world.  PEPFAR represents the vast majority of U.S. global health funding (nearly 67% of FY 2016 funding)7 and is the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease.8 In 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the goal of creating an “AIDS-free generation,” and, in 2012, released the PEPFAR “blueprint” for achieving this goal. PEPFAR’s latest strategy aligns with global goals related to the epidemic and reflects shifts in its approach to controlling the epidemic, including the further targeting of resources to key populations, especially adolescent girls and young women, and geographic areas that are most affected by HIV. 9, 10, 11, 12

Results & Targets

As of September 2015, PEPFAR reports that it has supported antiretroviral treatment for more than 9.5 million and performed 8.9 million voluntary medical male circumcisions (VMMC). In FY 2015, PEPFAR provided care for 5.5 million orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), training for 190,000 new health care workers, and supported testing and counselling for 68.2 million people, including 14.7 million pregnant women.13 In December 2014, PEPFAR, along with partners, launched the DREAMS initiative, which aims to reduce HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women, and during the 2015 U.N. General Assembly, PEPFAR released updated treatment and prevention targets for 2016 and 2017, which include for the first time an emphasis on addressing the epidemic among adolescent girls and young women (see Figure 1).12, 14

Table 1: Current PEPFAR Targets12
Prevention Treatment
  • By the end of 2016, jointly with partner countries, the Global Fund, and the private sector, achieve a 25% reduction in HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women (aged 15-24) within the highest burden geographic areas of 10 sub-Saharan African countries, and by the end of 2017, achieve a 40% reduction.
  • By the end of 2016, provide 11 million VMMCs, cumulatively, and by the end of 2017, provide 13 million VMMCs, cumulatively.
  • By the end of 2016, PEPFAR will support 11.4 million children, pregnant women receiving “B+”15, and adults on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment, of which 7.2 million are directly supported by PEPFAR funding and , and by 2017 treat 12.9 million people, of which 8.5 million are directly supported by PEPFAR funding.
  • By the end of 2017, jointly with partner countries and the Global Fund, support more than 18.5 million men, women, and children on treatment.

Key Structures & Mechanisms

PEPFAR’s original authorization established new structures and authorities, consolidating all U.S. bilateral and multilateral activities and funding for global HIV/AIDS. Several U.S. agencies, host country governments, and other organizations are involved in implementation.216

The U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator & OGAC

PEPFAR’s original authorization created the position of “U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator,” a Presidential appointee, requiring Senate confirmation and holding the rank of Ambassador who reports directly to the Secretary of State.3   The law also established the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) at the Department of State (State).17 (Lantos-Hyde also codified the position of a U.S. Malaria Coordinator; there is no coordinator for TB).5

Implementing Agencies2

In addition to State, other implementing departments and agencies for HIV activities include: USAID; the Department of Health and Human Services, primarily through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and National Institutes of Health (NIH); the Departments of Labor, Commerce, and Defense (DoD); and the Peace Corps.

Countries

PEPFAR bilateral support for HIV is provided to 41 countries and regional programs in Africa, the Middle-East, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean (in FY 2015) (Figure 1).18 Most FY 2015 funding is concentrated in 32 countries, including 15 “focus countries” targeted in PEPFAR’s first phase (Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia).1   More countries are reached through U.S. contributions to the Global Fund.

U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Countries, FY 2015

Figure 1: U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Countries, FY 2015

Operational Plans

These 32 countries and the Asian, Central Asian, Caribbean, and Central American regions are required to develop “Country Operational Plans” (COPs) and “Regional Operational Plans” (ROPs) to document annual investments and anticipated results.19  OGAC reviews all COP/ROPs and when approved, they are incorporated into an annual PEPFAR “Operational Plan”.20

Partnership Frameworks21

Lantos-Hyde included a new emphasis on country ownership to help foster sustainability and accountability by authorizing “Partnership Frameworks” with recipient countries, 5-year joint strategies for cooperation between the U.S. Government (USG), the partner (“host”) government, and other partners that outline the responsibilities of each party in achieving a country’s national HIV/AIDS strategy.  Countries must be invited to develop Partnership Frameworks and, as of December 2013, 20 countries and 2 regions had signed Partnership Frameworks. For countries and regions with signed Frameworks, COP/ROPs serve as a yearly plan outlining USG responsibilities to the Partnership.19

Funding

Total PEPFAR funding includes all bilateral funding for HIV as well as U.S. contributions to the Global Fund and UNAIDS (bilateral funding for TB is also counted in PEPFAR’s totals).  PEPFAR’s creation marked a significant increase in the amount of funding provided by the U.S. for global HIV, which rose from $1.10 billion in FY 2003 (the year before PEPFAR) to $1.64 billion in FY 2004, a nearly 50% increase. Total PEPFAR funding continued to increase steeply through FY 2010 ($6.87 billion), its peak level, but has decreased somewhat since then and been level for the past several years (Figure 2). In FY 2016, $6.81 billion was appropriated for PEPFAR.182223 The President’s FY 2017 budget request for PEPFAR is $6.76 billion, which would represent a decrease of $52 million (1%) below FY 2016 and is largely attributable to decreased funding for TB.1824

Of the approximately $6.81 billion appropriated for PEPFAR in FY 2016:

  • $5.22 billion (77%) is for HIV, $240 million (4%) for TB,25 and $1.35 billion (20%) for the Global Fund.18
  • The majority of PEPFAR funding is channeled by Congress to the State Department ($5.67 billion– most of which is then transferred to other agencies and includes the $1.35 billion contribution to the Global Fund), followed by USAID ($570 million, of which $330 million is for HIV and $240 million is for TB), NIH ($431 million), CDC ($128 million), and a small amount to DoD ($8 million).18, 26
U.S. Global Health Funding: President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) FY 2004-FY2017 Request

Figure 2: U.S. Global Health Funding: President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) FY 2004-FY2017 Request

Spending Directives/Earmarks

In PEPFAR’s original authorization, Congress recommended that 55% of funds be spent on treatment, 15% on palliative care, 20% on prevention, of which at least 33% be spent on abstinence-until-marriage programs, and 10% on OVCs.3   For FY 2006-2008, Congress required 55% to be spent on treatment, 10% on OVCs, and 33% of prevention funding on abstinence-until-marriage.  Lantos-Hyde relaxed some of these directives: while requiring that 10% of funds be spent on programs targeting OVCs and at least half on treatment and care, the 33% abstinence-until-marriage directive was removed and replaced by a requirement of “balanced funding” for prevention to be accompanied by a report to Congress if less than half of prevention funds were spent on abstinence, delay of sexual debut, monogamy, fidelity, and partner reduction activities in any host country with a generalized (high prevalence) epidemic.5  The PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act continues the spending directives for OVCs and requires at least 50% of bilateral HIV assistance to be spent on treatment and care.6

PEPFAR & The Global Fund

The U.S. is the single largest donor to the Global Fund.  Congressional appropriations to the Fund totaled $13.9 billion through FY 2016.17  The Global Fund provides another mechanism for U.S. support by funding programs developed by recipient countries, reaching a broader range of countries, and supporting TB, malaria, and HSS programs in addition to (and beyond their linkage with) HIV. To date, over 150 countries have received Global Fund grants; 52% of Global Fund support has been committed to HIV programs, 28% to malaria, 16% to TB, 2% to HIV/TB, and 2% to other health issues.27 The initial authorization of PEPFAR included a cap on cumulative U.S. contributions at 33% of the Global Fund’s total contributions, a provision retained in the 2008 reauthorization and extended in the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act.3, 5, 6

Looking Ahead

Since PEPFAR’s launch in 2003, many successes have been achieved and lessons learned and PEPFAR is viewed as one of the most significant and successful global health initiatives ever undertaken. Looking ahead, there are several issues and challenges for PEPFAR’s next phase, including:  

  • Continuing to support the program’s shift from an “emergency” response to a sustained, country-led model;16
  • Moving toward a more outcomes-based, data-driven system to assess impact and targeting;
  • Coordinating PEPFAR with other U.S. global health and sustainable development investments and applying lessons learned from PEPFAR more broadly;
  • Striking the appropriate balance in funding and programming between HIV treatment, prevention, and care; between bilateral HIV programs and the Global Fund; and between HIV and other parts of the global health portfolio;16  and
  • Working with partners to achieve the vision of an AIDS-free generation, particularly within a challenging global political, cultural, and fiscal climate.
Endnotes
  1. PEPFAR. 2009 Annual Report to Congress; January 2009.

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  2. KFF. The U.S. Government Engagement in Global Health: A Primer; June 2015.

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  3. U.S. Congress. Public Law No: 108-25; May 27, 2003.

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  4. The Global Fund is an independent, multilateral institution, providing grants to combat HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria.

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  5. U.S. Congress. Public Law No: 110-293; July 30, 2008.

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  6. U.S. Congress. Public Law No: 113-56; December 2, 2013.

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  7. Global Health represents total known funding provided through the State Department, USAID, CDC, NIH, and DoD. The FY17 malaria total does not include a proposed transfer of $129 million from emergency Ebola funding provided by Congress in FY15. FY16 and FY17 are preliminary estimates. Some global health funding is determined at the agency level and is not yet known for FY16 and FY17; for comparison purposes these amounts are assumed to remain at prior year levels.

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  8. While total PEPFAR funding includes bilateral funding for HIV, TB, and the Global Fund, this fact sheet focuses primarily on PEPFAR’s HIV efforts, unless otherwise noted.

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  9. Department of State. Fact Sheet: The Path to an AIDS-Free Generation; November 8, 2011

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  10. PEPFAR. PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation; November 2012.

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  11. PEPFAR. PEPFAR 3.0 – Controlling the Epidemic: Delivering on the Promise of an AIDS-free Generation; December 2014.

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  12. PEPFAR. Fact Sheet: 2015 United Nations General Assembly Sustainable Development Summit; September 2015.

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  13. PEPFAR. Fact Sheet: 2015 Latest Results; December 2015.

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  14. PEPFAR. Press release: The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Nike Foundation Partner on $210 Million Initiative to Reduce New HIV Infections in Adolescent Girls and Young Women; December 2014.

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  15. Option B+ offers pregnant or breastfeeding women who are infected with HIV lifelong antiretroviral treatment, regardless of their stage of infection. UNAIDS. Treatment 2015; Accessed from: http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/treatment2015.

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  16. CRS. PEPFAR Reauthorization: Key Policy Debates and Changes to U.S. International HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Programs and Funding; January 2009.

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  17. PEPFAR. About OGAC: http://www.pepfar.gov/c22835.htm.

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  18. KFF analysis, of data from: Congressional appropriations bills and reports; Federal Agency Budget and Congressional Justification documents; ForeignAssistance.gov; Office of Management and Budget, personal communication.

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  19. PEPFAR. PEPFAR Country/Regional Operational Plan (COP/ROP) 2016 Guidance; December 2015.

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  20. PEPFAR. Fiscal Year 2011: PEPFAR Operational Plan; December 2011.

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  21. PEPFAR. Partnership Frameworks: http://www.pepfar.gov/countries/frameworks/.

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  22. U.S. Congress. Public Law No: 112-25; August 2, 2011.

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  23. White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB Report to the Congress on the Joint Committee Sequestration for Fiscal Year 2013; March 1, 2013.

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  24. While HIV funding is essentially flat and Global Fund amounts are the same in the FY17 Request compared to FY16, TB funding is $191 million, or $45 million below the FY16 enacted level.

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  25. Additional TB funding provided through the Economic Support Fund (ESF) account is not yet known and is based on the FY17 Request.

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  26. Unless otherwise specified, all funding amounts represent HIV bilateral funding.

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  27. The Global Fund. Grant Portfolio; accessed July 2016: http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/portfolio/.

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