December 1, 2008
Today, President and Mrs. Bush marked World AIDS Day 2008 with Pastor Rick Warren at the Newseum and discussed the success of this Administration's global HIV/AIDS initiative. President and Mrs. Bush have made a historic commitment to the fight against global HIV/AIDS. Since 2001, the Administration has delivered more than $148 billion to fight HIV/AIDS both at home and abroad. Once again, this year, the White House will display the red ribbon on the North Portico to represent the continued battle against HIV/AIDS and to affirm the matchless value of every human life.
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in human history. When the President launched this initiative in 2003, approximately 50,000 people in all of sub-Saharan Africa were receiving anti-retroviral treatment.
Faith-based and community organizations are important partners in the implementation of PEPFAR, the President's Malaria Initiative, and other U.S.-funded efforts. President Bush's Faith-based and Community Initiative empowers these organizations so that they can help create an effective, multi-sectoral response to need. Faith-based and community organizations are uniquely positioned to promote HIV/AIDS stigma-reduction and prevention messages and provide counseling and testing, home care, clinical services, and antiretroviral treatment, particularly in some of the hardest-to-reach communities. Last year, 87 percent of PEPFAR partners were indigenous organizations, and nearly a quarter were faith-based.
PEPFAR supports a comprehensive prevention portfolio. In addition to the balanced, evidenced-based ABC (Abstain, Be faithful, and correct and consistent use of Condoms) approach, the United States also supports programs that address mother-to-child transmission, blood safety and safe medical injections, male circumcision, injecting drug users, HIV-discordant couples, alcohol abuse, and other key issues.
In 2008, President and Mrs. Bush traveled to Africa, where they witnessed the effectiveness of PEPFAR firsthand. At the Amana District Hospital in Tanzania, met with patients and saw the hope this program has given them, in addition to visiting with doctors, nurses, and caregivers of many faiths and backgrounds working to make a difference in the lives of their fellow citizens.
In 2007 G-8 leaders made a commitment to complement U.S. efforts so that together G-8 nations will support treatment for a total of five million people, prevent 24 million new infections, and care for 24 million people, including 10 million orphans and vulnerable children.
The United States is also working through multilateral organizations in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. The United States is the largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, providing more than $3.3 billion since 2001.
Mrs. Bush has focused domestic and international attention on PEPFAR. Mrs. Bush has visited 10 of the 15 PEPFAR focus countries. In addition, she emphasizes the link between improved education and disease prevention in nations around the world.
The Administration has worked to address the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS and to prevent new HIV infections within the United States. Approximately one in five people living with HIV -- 21 percent -- are unaware of their infection.
The Administration has successfully implemented the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act, in order to help ensure that AIDS patients can receive treatment, including lifesaving drugs. Since the 2006 reauthorization of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is better targeting Federal resources to assist areas with the greatest needs.
President Bush supported voluntary HIV tests becoming a routine part of care so all Americans could know their status. The President's 2009 budget requested $93 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV Testing Initiative that focuses on areas of populations with the highest burden of disease.
President Bush has encouraged State and local HIV prevention efforts and outreach to high-risk populations. The number of HIV/AIDS cases is especially high in the African American, Hispanic, and gay communities, as well as among injecting drug users and prisoners. The Targeted Capacity Expansion Program for Substance Abuse Treatment and HIV/AIDS Services grants support providers across the United States in traditionally underserved communities.