Twenty years ago today, President George W. Bush announced the creation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Since that historic announcement, the people of the United States provided more than $100 billion to save more than 25 million lives and contributed to the resilient public and community health systems for today and the future. Working with partner governments, multilateral and regional institutions, people living with HIV/AIDS, NGOs, and other stakeholders, we are confident that we can continue that progress and eliminate HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
With bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress and the generosity of the American people, PEPFAR has provided over 20.1 million people with life-saving HIV treatment in over 55 countries. These efforts have built, and continue to build, a stronger health infrastructure in many countries, improving health security and responses to other health crises such as COVID-19, mpox, and Ebola.
However, we know that progress in ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic can be easily reversed without focused, sustained, and equitable action. We cannot achieve our goal to end HIV/AIDS as a global health threat if we deny people’s rights or if we allow stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS or those who are most vulnerable to acquiring HIV. As President Biden declared on World AIDS Day 2022, “[W]e finally have the scientific understanding, treatments, and tools to build an AIDS-free future where everyone – no matter who they are, where they come from, or whom they love – can get the care and respect they deserve.” Our Administration is committed to ensuring all LGBTQI+ individuals are treated with dignity and respect, closing pernicious gender gaps, and ending HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. It is incumbent upon us to maintain progress, follow the science, and address disparities and inequitable access to achieve our shared goals.
Thank you to the many people across the world who have helped PEPFAR succeed over the previous twenty years and who are joining me today in recommitting to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. We look forward to marking PEPFAR’s twenty years of impact throughout 2023.