This year is the 15th anniversary of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Fifteen years ago, when PEPFAR was created, an HIV diagnosis was still a death sentence in many countries, and entire families and communities were falling ill. Faced with this death and devastation, the United States government responded resoundingly. President George W. Bush sent ripples of compassion and hope around the world when he launched PEPFAR in his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003. Four months later, on May 27, the U.S. Congress acted swiftly, passing bipartisan legislation that authorized PEPFAR.
Today, death and despair have been overwhelmingly replaced with hope and life. The U.S. government, through PEPFAR, has not only saved and improved millions of lives, but also transformed the global HIV/AIDS response. When PEPFAR began, only 50,000 people in Africa were on lifesaving HIV treatment. PEPFAR now supports over 14 million people on treatment globally.