PEPFAR Likely To Meet 2M Treatment Target, Bush Says
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is on track to meet its five-year target of supporting antiretroviral treatment to two million people in developing countries, President Bush said on Tuesday during a press conference following a meeting at the White House with the presidents of five African countries, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat, 6/13). PEPFAR is a five-year, $15 billion program that directs funding for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria primarily to 15 focus countries and provides funding to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/31). "Working with our African partners, we have now delivered lifesaving treatment to more than 200,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa, and we're on our way to meeting an important ... five-year goal of providing treatment for nearly two million African adults and children," Bush said (CQ HealthBeat, 6/13). At a State Department press conference following Bush's meeting with the African presidents, U.S. Ambassador Randall Tobias, head of the department's Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, said PEPFAR has reached a "turning point" in the fight against HIV/AIDS and is exceeding its treatment targets, according to Washington File. As of March 31, PEPFAR has supported treatment for approximately 235,000 people through bilateral programs in its focus countries, Tobias said, adding that the program's annual goal has been exceeded by 35,000 people. Of the 235,000 people receiving treatment, more than 230,000 live in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Tobias (Washington File, 6/13). Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul said PEPFAR is scaling up HIV testing services in its focus countries to meet its treatment target of two million people and is implementing new methods such as using door-to-door HIV testing with rapid HIV tests and targeting high-risk populations (CQ HealthBeat, 6/13). OGAC on Tuesday also released a fact sheet providing updated treatment information (OGAC fact sheet, 6/13).
Bush, African Presidents Discuss HIV/AIDS, Economic Development
Bush met with the presidents of Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia and Niger at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the administration's efforts to promote democracy and economic development and fight poverty and diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, the New York Times reports (Stevenson, New York Times, 6/14). The "United States of America is firmly committed to working with governments to help fight the pandemic of AIDS," Bush said at the press conference, adding, "I've made fighting this terrible disease a top priority of my administration by launching ... an emergency plan for AIDS relief" (Xinhua/People's Daily, 6/14). Bush also said the United States will accelerate the certification process for countries to receive aid through the Millennium Challenge Account, a program announced in 2002 that aims to increase U.S. foreign aid by as much as $5 billion by 2006 and has so far committed about $325 million (Fletcher, Washington Post, 6/14). "I assured the leaders we will work harder and faster to certify countries from MCA so that MCA countries and the people in the MCA countries can see the benefit of this really important piece of legislation and funding," Bush said (Reuters/Arizona Daily Star, 6/14).
NPR's "All Things Considered" on Monday reported on how Nigeria is using its PEPFAR funds to fight HIV/AIDS. The segment includes comments from Abdulsalim Nasidi, a virologist and director of special projects in the country's Ministry of Health, and John Vertefeuille of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland Medical Center (Wilson, "All Things Considered," NPR, 6/13). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. Expanded NPR coverage is available online.