New Report: Global AIDS Response Is Changing Epidemic, Improving Health Outcomes Beyond AIDS
Report Urges Continued Scale-Up of AIDS Investments to Capitalize on Broader Health System Benefits
Washington -- A new issue brief released today by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, and the Center for Global Health Policy highlights the opportunity to build on the tangible results of a global health success story, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The report shows that PEPFAR, along with other global AIDS initiatives, has led to significant declines in AIDS-related mortality; enhanced the treatment and prevention of other diseases, from malaria to tuberculosis; and strengthened primary care in countries hardest hit by HIV/AIDS.
"The report comes as there are worrisome signs the U.S. government is considering a significant slowing in the scale-up of global AIDS prevention and treatment," said Chris Collins, amfAR's vice president and director for public policy. "A retreat on our global AIDS commitments would jeopardize the gains we've made, leave millions without treatment and squander the chance to build broader health services on a program that has demonstrated significant impact."
Instead of pulling back, the report argues, U.S. policy makers and Obama administration officials crafting a new Global Health Initiative should leverage the achievements of the AIDS response, continue the accelerated scale-up of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and use these efforts as a foundation on which to build broader and more sustainable healthcare capacity in low- and middle-income countries.
"PEPFAR and other global AIDS programs have given more than four million people in resource-poor countries a second chance at life through access to medical care and antiretroviral drugs," said Center for Global Health Policy Director Christine Lubinski. "Going forward, PEPFAR can serve as a backbone for the revitalization of primary care in Africa, with AIDS care supporting the infrastructure for care of acute and chronic diseases in general."
Among the highlights of the report:
- The intensive response to HIV/AIDS is changing the trajectory of the pandemic, reducing mortality, increasing life expectancy, and improving the prospects for entire countries.
- The AIDS response directly benefits the treatment and prevention of other diseases, including malaria and TB.
- The AIDS response is strengthening health services and primary care in many settings: Nearly one-third (32%) of PEPFAR investments are directed towards strengthening health systems through programs to build human capacity, provide technical assistance, create laboratory infrastructure, enhance supply chain management, and strengthen monitoring and evaluation systems.
- The AIDS response is strengthening government and program accountability: PEPFAR, the Global Fund, and other HIV/AIDS programs are focused on demonstrating tangible results based on clear objectives and accountability measures. This outcomes-driven orientation has been key to the programs' success and has helped cultivate similar performance-based models in other health initiatives.
The report includes the following recommendations:
- Bring HIV/AIDS and other global health services to scale: The U.S. should fund PEPFAR at levels authorized by Congress, provide increased resources through the Global Fund and other programs, and launch a coordinated research agenda across federal agencies to identify the best models for integrating HIV/AIDS programs and other health services.
- Use PEPFAR programming as a foundation for broader health-service scale up: PEPFAR is evolving from an emergency relief effort to a comprehensive system for implementing health interventions in partnership with countries. It has worked with countries to develop five-year strategies, partner implementation plans, and effective approaches to evaluation. These core processes can be used as a foundation for addressing a range of health needs and ensuring vulnerable populations receive services that meet their needs.