May 09, 2011


Learning From Our Global HIV/AIDS Programs

By Jeffrey S. Crowley, M.P.H., Director, Office of National AIDS Policy (Cross-posted from the Office of National AIDS Policy Blog)

Last week, I was in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I attended the annual meeting of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.  Known as PEPFAR, this is the United States global HIV/AIDS program that was established by President Bush.  PEPFAR has been continued and strongly supported by President Obama.  The focus of this Administration has been to move the program from an emergency response to a sustainable, long-term effort that builds the capacity of host countries to take the lead in responding their HIV epidemics.  Indeed, in 2009, President Obama announced his Global Health Initiative (GHI) that acknowledges the enormous success of PEPFAR and seeks to build on this effort by strengthening health systems to tackle other health problems.

It is humbling and exciting to be with this group of committed Americans and host country partners.  The American people should be proud of the fact that we are leading the response to the global pandemic and our work is literally saving the lives of millions of people around the world.  A couple of statistics caught my ear. Through PEPFAR, 385,000 infants have been born HIV-free who otherwise would have been born with the virus. More than 100,000 of these births have been in the last year alone.  The PEPFAR program is currently supporting more than 3.2 million people on anti-retroviral therapy, an amazing achievement for a program that is only 7 years old.  What an enormous achievement!  I could cite facts and figures for days, but the most meaningful way to see the impact of our efforts is to visit the clinics and programs that the US government is supporting.  With CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, I visited a local clinic and a hospital in Tembisa, a community outside of Johannesburg that is home to two million people.  I also visited Helen Thomas Hospital in Johannesburg, a research hospital and one of the largest HIV treating hospitals in South Africa, as well as Nazareth House, a Catholic institution that cares for children orphaned by HIV.  It is hard to describe the feeling of seeing hundreds and hundreds of people living with HIV, many of whom are on HIV treatment, and to hear them thank PEPFAR and the American people for helping to keep them alive.

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May 05, 2011


PEPFAR’s Partnership With the Global Fund Improves the Response to HIV/AIDS

By Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (Cross-posted from the State Department Blog)

This week in Johannesburg, South Africa, PEPFAR is convening its annual meeting. U.S. Government global health leaders and staff are working together to identify opportunities to build on the impressive achievements our programs have made so far. Throughout the week here on Dipnote, I am providing updates on our collaboration to further our vision of partnership, efficiency, and innovation for sustained impact through PEPFAR.

As we wrap up this year's meeting in Johannesburg, today we have focused on what we can do to advance the vision of shared responsibility at the country level. As I have described, we are working to reach the point where our partner countries have ownership of the full continuum of response. This encompasses the work going on at every level -- including various levels of public facilities, as well contributions of faith-based organizations, the private sector and others to the health system. It also includes our PEPFAR resources and expertise.

And it definitely includes resources provided through grants provided through the mechanism of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Through our contribution to the Global Fund, the United States is able to support the delivery of significant and concrete health results; expand the geographic reach of and enhance bilateral efforts; catalyze international investment in AIDS, TB, and malaria; build capacity, country ownership, and sustainability; and demonstrate political commitment to international cooperation.

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May 02, 2011


Preventing HIV Infection in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

By Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (Cross-posted from the State Department Blog)

This week I am traveling in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country that, while facing many challenges, is home to families who are seeking to build a better future. Health is an important part of a better future for the DRC, and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) is a key example of a health care service that can strengthen families and communities.

PMTCT provides a triple benefit: in addition to preventing an infant from being infected with HIV, a program can also provide antiretroviral treatment to keep the mother alive, which in turn prevents her other children from being orphaned. So PMTCT is a smart investment -- it has an impressive impact, and is strikingly cost-effective as well.

Led by the U.S. through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the world has made dramatic progress on PMTCT over the last decade. Tragically, the DRC has not been able to participate in this improvement. According to 2007 demographic and health survey (DHS) data, an estimated 70 percent of pregnant women give birth in facilities. However, only an estimated 2.2 percent of pregnant women have access to PMTCT services, including HIV testing.

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April 04, 2011


PEPFAR and Ukraine: A Partnership To Stop the Spread of HIV

By Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (Cross-posted from the State Department Blog)


I recently visited Ukraine for the first time in my role as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. I was pleased to have the opportunity to return to Ukraine, a country where I have spent considerable time working to strengthen HIV prevention, care and treatment services.

Ukraine is currently experiencing the most severe HIV epidemic in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. UNAIDS estimates that 1.1 percent of adults in Ukraine are living with HIV and an estimated 350,000 adults and children are currently infected -- slightly over half of which are cases reported in women. The vast majority of reported HIV cases in Ukraine have occurred in most-at-risk populations, particularly people who inject drugs, and injecting drug use continues to be the main driver of the epidemic.

Under PEPFAR, the United States has supported Ukraine in making concrete progress in fighting HIV/AIDS and these efforts are saving lives. In fiscal year 2010, the U.S. supported HIV counseling and testing for approximately 43,300 individuals, and care and support for 13,900 people living with HIV/AIDS in Ukraine.

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March 31, 2011


Peace Corps Volunteers Are Leaders in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

By Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (Cross-posted from the State Department Blog)


This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, and I would like to thank the thousands of volunteers who have responded to the HIV/AIDS crisis, one of the most serious threats to global health and development. The Peace Corps is a key partner and implementer of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is working around the globe to save lives and promote a more secure world.

When PEPFAR was announced in 2003, Peace Corps was recognized as a key partner in the U.S. government's response to the global AIDS pandemic. Today, nearly 2,500 volunteers are working on PEPFAR-supported HIV programs in 46 countries. Many Peace Corps volunteers work on HIV education initiatives during their service. The Peace Corps currently trains all volunteers who serve in Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia to be advocates and educators for HIV prevention, care, and support.

Volunteers will continue to be first responders in local communities, dealing with the unfolding tragedies in the villages were they serve. Volunteers' “can do” attitudes mean that they find ways to “make do.” Where others may see a lack of resources, Peace Corps volunteers see a challenge and they respond with creative solutions. They contribute a clear understanding of what really works to fight the spread of disease and alleviate suffering.

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