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The Obama Administration’s Commitment to the Fight Against Global AIDS

Ambassador Eric Goosby

Ambassador Goosby is welcomed by representatives from the Infectious Diseases Institute at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

On February 1, the Obama Administration released the FY2011 federal budget request. This request reflects the continued strong commitment of the U.S. Government to the fight against global AIDS. It is a central piece of the foreign policy and global health agenda outlined by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I’ve been working in HIV/AIDS for 25 years, both domestically and internationally. I can remember the days before the launch of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). At that time, in most of the sub-Saharan African countries that we’re engaged in now, patients were two to a bed, put under the bed, on the floors, and in the hallways, waiting for treatments that basically weren’t available.

Today, the situation is markedly different. PEPFAR has brought hope to millions of people across the world with its treatment and care programs. In 2009, PEPFAR directly supported life-saving antiretroviral therapy for more than 2.4 million people, essential care for nearly 11 million people, and counseling and testing for nearly 29 million people.

The President and Secretary Clinton are committed to building on these successes. For FY 2011, President Obama has requested nearly $7.0 billion for PEPFAR, including $5.74 billion for bilateral HIV/AIDS programs, $1 billion for the Global Fund Exit Disclaimer, and $251 million for bilateral TB pro­grams. In a time of tightening budgets and economic constraints, this request for the eighth year of PEPFAR is the largest request to date in a President’s budget. The U.S. Government is and will remain by far the largest donor to global HIV/AIDS efforts, contributing well over half of global donor resources. HIV/AIDS is a global responsibility, and the Administration will engage with other donors around creating a response with countries that reflects shared contributions to overall need.