PEPFAR Marks 10th Anniversary, Celebrates Milestone Of 1M Babies Born Without HIV

“At a ceremony lauding the 10th anniversary of the anti-AIDS initiative PEPFAR, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the program had achieved a remarkable milestone: one million babies born to HIV-positive mothers had been born free of the disease,” reports (Levy, 6/18). “Our commitment has only been strengthened by the progress we’ve made and the lives we’ve saved, and this is the story we are able to tell today. … This story compels us to continue,” Kerry said, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog writes (Barton, 6/18). “The chances of a mother infecting her baby once stood at around 30 percent, but now, with [combination antiretroviral therapy], that has dropped to only about two percent, [U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby] said,” Agence France-Presse notes (Biddle, 6/18). “Secretary Kerry also stated that, according to an updated analysis by PEPFAR, 13 countries are at the programmatic tipping point in their AIDS epidemic — the point where the annual increase in adults on treatment is greater than the number of annual new adult HIV infections,” according to a press release from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, congratulating the program’s success (6/18).

Speaking at the event, “Namibian Health Minister Richard Nehabi Kamwi said his government would always be ‘eternally grateful’ for PEPFAR’s assistance, which has helped turn the tide against the disease in his country,” according to AFP (6/18). “PEPFAR has embodied the spirit of shared responsibility and global solidarity through its commitment to helping the most vulnerable in society,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel SidibĂ© said in a UNAIDS press statement (6/18). A VOA News “Policy Brief” video report examines the PEPFAR initiative over the past decade (6/18). The U.S. State Department provides a PEPFAR fact sheet on its webpage (6/18).

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