Former President George W. Bush, Catholic Leaders Unite to Renew PEPFAR, Marking 20 Years of Fighting HIV/AIDS

On February 24, 2023, former U.S. President George W. Bush celebrated the PEPFAR program’s 20th anniversary and hailed it as a notable example of global leadership. Catholic News reports that PEPFAR, often known as the U.S. The largest global health initiative focusing on HIV/AIDS was launched in 2003 and is also known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

The program is credited with saving 25 million lives and reducing the epidemic’s impact by distributing antiretroviral medication in countries where up to one-third of adults were affected. Congress and President Bush authorized the program, demonstrating the U.S.’s commitment to addressing global health issues.

PEPFAR is Now 20 Years Saving Lives

The U.S. Catholic Relief Services and Conference of Catholic Bishops, the international relief and development agency, have voiced their support for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In the report of OSV News, according to Nikki Gamer, the senior public affairs manager at CRS, PEPFAR is among the most successful global health programs ever created and has played a pivotal role in changing the trajectory of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Since its authorization in 2003, PEPFAR has saved millions of lives, prevented countless new infections, and provided aid to 7.1 million orphans and vulnerable children across the globe. Ms. Gamer emphasized the importance of maintaining bipartisan support for the program and ensuring its reauthorization remains free from political influence.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also spoke at an event in Washington, D.C., and she emphasized health equity as a crucial component of global peace, with Pelosi noting that PEPFAR is about “health justice.” Pelosi also praised the program’s bipartisan support across multiple administrations and Congresses and lauded the ongoing dedication of the Bushes to the program.

Also Read: Bush Foundation Received Funding From CCP-Linked Firm, Report Reveals

Who Founded the Program and Why Was PEPFAR Formed?

According to The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is run by the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Global Health Diplomacy, which has invested over $100 billion in the global HIV/AIDS response.

This represents the most significant investment in fighting a single disease in history. PEPFAR has made tremendous progress in curbing the pandemic, saving 25 million lives and preventing millions of new infections. The program’s reach extends to over 50 countries, demonstrating the U.S.’s commitment to global health and diplomacy.

Also, in another source, to further understand the campaign, The Whitehouse stated that President George W. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Address introduced the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is now recognized as the most significant international health initiative to fight a single disease. With bipartisan support, the initial legislation authorized $15 billion over 5 years to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

President Bush saw this commitment as crucial to combating extremism and reducing despair worldwide. PEPFAR’s achievements have included providing life-saving treatment to over 2.1 million people and care to over 10 million individuals, including 4 million orphans and vulnerable children.

Related Article: African Jesuit AIDS Network Call For African Catholic Church to Focus on African Teens with HIV/AIDS 

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