News From Friends of the Global Fight: December 3, 2015

In this edition of our congressional e-newsletter, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria presents the final installment of a three-part series designed to give readers an in-depth view of the Global Fund’s work on each of the three diseases. The first, focused on malaria, can be found here. The second, highlighting the Fund’s work on tuberculosis, may be found here.

This week, we discuss the Global Fund’s critical work on HIV/AIDS and their invaluable partnership with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. We also celebrate World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, with a blog post written by Friends’ Policy Manager, True Claycombe.

The Global Fund and PEPFAR – Fighting Global HIV/AIDS Together

Since the first case in 1981, more than 78 million people have become infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and over 39 million people have died of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). An advanced stage HIV infection leads to a diagnosis of AIDS. HIV has no cure, but antiretroviral therapy (ART) can help control the virus, prevent AIDS, and allow infected people to lead healthy lives. There are currently 36.9 million people living with HIV, 70 percent of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa.

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), established in 2003, is the U.S. government initiative working to end the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. It constitutes the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease internationally, providing technical assistance for HIV/AIDS programs in 65 countries, and supporting lifesaving antiretroviral treatment for 7.7 million men, women and children. The Global Fund and PEPFAR are the two leading global financiers of the HIV/AIDS response, accounting for approximately 80 percent of international assistance and together providing antiretroviral treatment for nearly 16 million people.

The Global Fund and PEPFAR work closely together to build capacity, leverage investments, mobilize resources and provide stable external financing. The Global Fund ensures an integrated HIV/AIDS response through PEPFAR’s direct support for the provision of technical care and treatment service. PEPFAR, meanwhile, uses the Global Fund’s bulk pricing and purchasing power to procure key commodities for less. Notably, the U.S. government, through PEPFAR, holds a permanent seat as a member of the Board of the Global Fund and has been actively involved in the Fund’s grant development process. PEPFAR has invited the Global Fund to attend and provide input at in-person PEPFAR Country Operational Plan (COP) reviews. On a country level, the Global Fund’s Geneva-based Fund Portfolio Managers meet with PEPFAR in-country teams on a monthly basis. Finally, PEPFAR and the Global Fund have been working since early 2012 to harmonize financial monitoring and construct a framework to compare expenditure data.

The global response to HIV, led by PEPFAR and the Global Fund, has averted 30 million new HIV infections and nearly 8 million AIDS-related deaths since 2000. For the first time in history, doctors and health professionals can foresee an end to AIDS as a public health threat. New HIV infections among children have declined by 58 percent since 2000, and the Global Fund has provided funding for 3.1 million pregnant women to receive ART for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. As of March 2015, more than 15 million people are receiving HIV treatment. These successes only serve to underscore the importance of continued U.S. leadership and robust international funding in achieving the ultimate goal of a world without AIDS.

UNAIDS Releases World AIDS Day Report

On Nov. 24, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) released its new World AIDS Day report. Titled On the Fast-Track to end AIDS by 2030: Focus on location and population, the report shows that countries are adopting the UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy to double the number of people on HIV treatment by 2020, and end AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The document also shows incredible progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS; at the end of 2014 new HIV infections had fallen by 35 percent since the peak in 2000, and AIDS-related deaths had fallen by 42 percent since the 2004 peak. The new report aims to support countries in developing and accelerating a more focused response through the use of better data to map and reach people in the places where most new HIV infections occur. The document gives examples of more than 50 communities, cities and countries that are using innovative approaches to reach more people with comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment services.

“Every five years we have more than doubled the number of people on lifesaving treatment,” said Michel SidibĂ©, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We need to do it just one more time to break the AIDS epidemic and keep it from rebounding.”

Celebrating World AIDS Day 2015 – The Time to Act is Now

On Dec. 1, the world celebrated the 28th annual World AIDS Day (#WAD2015). The White House’s theme for #WAD2015 was The Time to Act Is Now, and President Obama in a video message highlighted the United States’ and the global community’s collective effort to save lives and prevent new infections, which has put the world on track to one day soon put an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Product (RED) launched a number of initiatives including (SHOPATHON) RED, which is raising money through the sale of (RED) products and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s generous matching pledge up to $20 million. One hundred percent of (RED) money goes directly to the Global Fund to finance programs fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa.

(RED), together with Coca-Cola, also released a documentary video, Generation Free, telling the stories of some extraordinary young Tanzanians who have dedicated themselves to educating people about the transmission of HIV/AIDS in hopes of one day achieving a generation free from the disease. The video also highlighted Coca-Cola’s work across the continent of Africa to fight HIV/AIDS through the improvement of supply chains so that lifesaving antiretroviral drugs are better distributed and available for the people who need them most.