White House: HIV/AIDS Treatment Program Goal Reached Early
December 1, 2008
President George W. Bush plans to mark World AIDS Day today by announcing that his global AIDS initiative, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has already met its goal of getting 2 million people on treatment by the end of the year. PEPFAR targets 15 of the world's poorest countries, mainly in Africa.
"PEPFAR is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in human history," said White House spokesperson Dana Perino.
"When the president launched this initiative in 2003, approximately 50,000 people in all of sub-Saharan Africa were receiving antiretroviral treatment," said Perino. As of September 30, PEPFAR was supporting treatment for more than 2.1 million men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, including more than 2 million in sub-Saharan Africa, she said. Almost 9.7 million people, including nearly 4 million orphans and other children, had received "compassionate care" by that date, she added.
"Nearly 240,000 babies have been born HIV-free due to the support of the American people for programs to prevent mothers from passing the virus on to their children," Perino said.
In July, Bush signed legislation tripling PEPFAR's funds from $15 billion to $48 billion. The measure drops a requirement that one-third of prevention funding be used to promote abstinence and relaxes a ban on HIV-positive travelers entering the United States.
Later on Monday, Bush and first lady Laura Bush are expected to discuss the fight against HIV/AIDS in a forum with Rick Warren, pastor of a California mega-church.
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.