24 July 2017

Southern Africa: Update On the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar)

Photo: IAS/Steve Forrest/Workers' Photos
Each of the studies highlighted in a conference this week "takes us one step closer to the end of HIV," says Linda-Gail Bekker, president of the International AIDS Society and director of South Africa's Desmond Tutu HIV Centre.
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Today, the United States announced that through support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) four African countries are approaching control of their HIV epidemics.

Groundbreaking new PEPFAR data show that the HIV epidemic is coming under control across all age groups in Swaziland, the country with the highest HIV prevalence in the world. Additional PEPFAR-supported studies released in December 2016 for Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe also demonstrate significant progress toward controlling the HIV epidemics in these countries.

In Swaziland, new HIV infections have been nearly halved among adults, and HIV viral load suppression - a key marker of the body successfully controlling the virus - has doubled since 2011. These data suggest that Swaziland has met the global target for community viral load suppression among HIV-positive adults four years ahead of schedule. The Swaziland data is particularly important because PEPFAR funded a comprehensive survey in 2011-2012, which provides the critical baseline comparator of current results and progress.

Today's findings demonstrate the remarkable impact of the U.S. government's efforts, through PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in close collaboration with African countries and other partners.

The United States is the largest bilateral donor to the global HIV/AIDS response. Through PEPFAR, the United States continues to invest in over 50 countries, ensuring access to services by all populations, including the most vulnerable and at-risk groups.

Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are among the 13 highest-burden countries that have the greatest potential to control their epidemics by 2020 through the UNAIDS 90-90-90 framework and expansion of HIV prevention, leading PEPFAR to accelerate its efforts in these particular countries.

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