PEPFAR’s Goal to Eradicate HIV/AIDS by 2030 is Within Reach

By Susan Montgomery - September 12, 2023

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on ASCP News

More than 25 million lives have been saved in the 20 years since the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) began. PEPFAR’s goal, along with its partners, is to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

“PEPFAR is a testament of what happens when bipartisan support and innovative partners lead with collective action to address global challenges,” says Aji-Mallen Sanneh, ASCP senior director of global engagement.

ASCP partnered with PEPFAR since its creation in 2003, to build efficient and reliable laboratory and resistant health systems in more than 20 countries worldwide. Improved laboratory systems enhance national responses to global health threats. In addition, they supported educational initiatives which focused on developing comprehensive curricula in laboratory sciences, ensuring that the workforce are verses on latest advancements and techniques to sustainably detect and respond to outbreaks before they become epidemics.

For this reason, ASCP is supporting efforts by 75 Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to have federal funding reauthorized for PEPFAR. U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Mike Lawler (R-NY-17) are spearheading these efforts. These leaders, along with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Dr. John Nkengasong, are confident that PEPFAR’s ambitious goal to eliminate the threat of HIV/AIDS by 2030 is attainable.

Since 2003, the U.S. States has invested more than $100 billion in the global HIV/AIDS response. In close partnership with national, multi-lateral and civil society partners, PEPFAR has supported the prevention of millions of HIV infections, and accompanying several countries to achieve HIV epidemic control, all while significantly strengthening global economic security.

PEPFAR also saw the creation of programs like the Global Fund, an international movement to defeat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, and to ensure a healthier and more equitable future around the globe. It invests $4 billion U.S. dollars a year.

“The U.S. has always taken the lead in terms of funding and building sustainable programs around the world,” says Ms. Sanneh. “One of the cornerstones of PEPFAR is building sustainable programs and working hand in hand with in-country partners and community groups engagement.”

Every five years, PEPFAR funding must be reauthorized, which means Congress authorizes additional funds through PEPFAR to support global initiatives like the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. 

Why should people in the U.S. care about the health of individuals living in low-income countries? “There is no us and them,” says Ms. Sanneh. “Diseases have no borders.” 

The legacy of the PEPFAR program is hard to quantify. “PEPFAR’s way of measuring success is not by numbers, but by human lives,” she says, adding, “You cannot put a value on that.” 

Susan Montgomery

ASCP communications writer