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U.S. Must Continue Bipartisan Support For PEPFAR ‘To Do What’s Right’

The Hill: What America First really means
Susan Michaels-Strasser, assistant professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, implementation director of ICAP at Columbia University, and public voices fellow with the OpEd Project

“…As our country considers retreating and rebuilding to ‘Make America Great Again’ versus engaging in the wider world in both word and deed, my strongest argument for bold engagement, comes from the actions of a prior Republican president. It’s the story of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) envisioned by former President George W. Bush to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic and sustained through eight years of the Obama administration. It is a story of unwavering commitment to do what’s right amidst catastrophe. … My experience with PEPFAR confirmed for me that it is exactly when we are feeling most vulnerable and afraid that we need to engage. … We must continue to engage if we want to prevail and if we want to preserve our dignity. I’ve seen firsthand how PEPFAR has not only strengthened our standing in the world but how this kind of assistance can be the best medicine against the disease of terrorism. It’s a model, a metaphor, a bipartisan commitment that must continue and grow in these uncertain times. There is much still that needs to be done. … Continued support for PEPFAR remains essential to meet the remaining challenges. … Our best protection is engagement…” (2/27).

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