AP Examines Successes, Future Of PEPFAR

The Associated Press examines the history of PEPFAR, its successes, funding, and prospects for its future, writing PEPFAR “has come to represent what Washington can do when it puts politics aside — and what America can do to make the world a better place.” Noting that former President George W. Bush formed the program in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus in 2003, the AP says PEPFAR “is running up against an era of economic recovery and harsh budget cuts” as it “is also trying to find a balance between its goals of reaching more people with its prevention and treatment programs and turning over more responsibility to the host nations where it operates.” PEPFAR is “the largest commitment ever by a nation to combat a single disease internationally,” the news agency notes.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), “who played major roles both in passing the original 2003 act and its 2008 renewal that significantly increased funding for AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis treatment in Africa and other areas of the developing world,” said, “I’m worried that with any type of level-funding or cuts we’ll go backward,” according to the AP, which notes the program is up for reauthorization. At a recent forum sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ Global Health Policy Center, Chris Collins, director of public policy at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, “warned of potential repercussions as the AIDS program shifts from being an emergency response to the AIDS epidemic to a more supportive role for country-based health programs,” the AP writes. Jen Kates, vice president and director of HIV and global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, “said that while there’s still bipartisan support for the AIDS program in Congress, ‘the big question is will the financing be there to reach the goals’ of treating more people and advancing toward that AIDS-free generation,” according to the AP (Abrams, 5/21).