U.S. leading efforts to save lives

·    Globally, about 5.2 million people in low- and middle-income countries were on treatment at the end of 2009, up from 4 million the previous year. Concrete numbers of lives being saved.
·    PEPFAR was a major contributor to the increase, supporting treatment for nearly 2.5 million people through September 2009, up from approximately 1.7 million the previous year.
·    PEPFAR programs allowed almost 100,000 babies to be born free of HIV in FY 2009, adding to almost 240,000 in the first five years of the program.
·    HIV counseling and testing has been provided to nearly 29 million people, and care and support for nearly 11 million, including over 3.6 million orphans and vulnerable children.
    
President Obama's request for PEPFAR in his fiscal year 2011 budget is the largest request to date in a president's budget, and the program is slated to increase in the years ahead.  In addition, the president has put forward an ambitious $63 billion Global Health Initiative (GHI), which will support coordinated interventions aimed at reducing lives lost from HIV/AIDS and other health challenges.  Going forward, in addition to doubling the number of babies born HIV-free, the U.S will support the prevention of more than 12 million new HIV infections, HIV treatment for more than four million people, and care for more than 12 million people, including five million children and orphans. Through US investments in the Global Fund, many more people will also benefit from prevention, care and treatment.

The progress we have seen in PEPFAR provides us with a roadmap on how to achieve success – and is the centerpiece of the GHI.  Through PEPFAR, we have learned that making targeted and smart investments saves lives. GHI recognizes that we need an integrated, coordinated response that makes the most of our critical global health dollars.

With the dedicated support of the president and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, this Administration is working every day to continue providing American leadership in the global effort to defeat HIV/AIDS and keep our eyes on the ultimate prize – saving lives.  

Deborah von Zinkernagel is the Principal Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, U.S. Department of State.