National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on Saturday, Sept. 26, announced that the Obama Administration is investing “nearly half a billion dollars to support an AIDS-free future for adolescent girls and young women,” through the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
In a statement released Saturday, Rice said that both new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are both down by more than 40 percent since the peak of the epidemic, adding that the Obama Administration has “invested nearly $50 billion” through PEPFAR to “achieve an AIDS-free generation, building on the initiative and $15 billion provided by President Bush.”
She continued, “Working with partner countries around the globe, we are now supporting life-saving antiretroviral treatment for 7.7 million men, women and children worldwide; enabled more than one million babies to be born HIV-free; and tested and counseled more than 14 million pregnant women last year alone.
“Today we are setting a bold new course by announcing ambitious PEPFAR prevention and treatment targets for 2016 and 2017.”
The goal is that by the end of 2017, PEPFAR will support antiretroviral treatment for 12.9 million people, pay for 13 million male circumcisions to help prevent HIV transmission and reduce HIV infections by 40 percent among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries, Rice said. Every year, Rice noted, 380,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV. That’s 7,300 every week, or more than 1,000 every day.
“This must change,” Rice said.
The new effort includes $300 million in additional HIV prevention investments with the PEPFAR-led DREAMS partnership, building on the $210 million that PEPFAR and private partners committed to DREAMS on World AIDS Day last year.
DREAMS stands for Determined, Resilient, Empowered AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women.
“Over the last 15 years, we have seen remarkable results as we have worked together toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” Rice said. “PEPFAR’s new targets and investments come at a critical time as we transition from the Millennium Development Goals to meet the challenge before us in the new Sustainable Development Goals: to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
“We believe if we all — governments, private sector, civil society including faith-based organizations — bring our collective will and energy together, we can achieve an AIDS-free generation and bring this epidemic to a halt,” she conclluded.