On Monday, the Senate backed S 1545 by unanimous consent; today by a voice vote, the House passed the bill, which renews the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
In May AHF brought AIDS patients and doctors from its clinics in South Africa Uganda, Nigeria, Haiti and Vietnam to Capitol Hill in May for over 50 congressional office visits to tell their personal stories and press legislators to continue to honor the US’ commitment to global AIDS by renewing PEPFAR. In August, during Congress’ summer break, a delegation of staffers from Congressional offices, including from Rep. Lee and Speaker Boehner’s offices, visited AHF’s Ithembalabantu Clinic in Durban, South Africa, where staffers saw the value of treatment firsthand, and again were told why reauthorization was necessary.
WASHINGTON (November 19, 2013)
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, today loudly applauded passage of an historic global AIDS bill by Congress this week that means millions of more lives will be saved around the world. In an increasingly rare bipartisan effort in Washington, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House passed legislation reauthorizing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the landmark global AIDS treatment program first introduced by President George W. Bush in his 2002 State of the Union address. The bill now moves on to President Obama’s desk for his signature.
“This is a towering accomplishment by Congress, one that will literally save the lives of millions more people living with HIV/AIDS around the world,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “This is also a proud moment for AHF: over the past year, we took a leadership role in pressing for PEPFAR’s renewal by educating legislators and staffers on the importance of this global AIDS program, one of America’s most effective diplomatic efforts today. Kudos and thanks to those in Washington for working together on this lifesaving legislation.”
In May of this year, AHF brought AIDS patients, providers and advocates from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America to Washington for over fifty meetings with Congressional offices and staffers in which the patients, doctors and advocates shared their personal stories and explained the need for reauthorization.
In July, when President Obama visited Africa, AHF and its African partners scheduled a series of five press conferences and protests in the countries he was visiting (South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania) to challenge the President, highlighting he fact that wasn’t doing enough to sustain PEPFAR.
And In August, during Congress’ summer break, a delegation of staffers from Congressional offices, including from Rep. Lee and Speaker Boehner’s offices as well as staffer from Senator Corker’s office, visited AHF’s Ithembalabantu Clinic in Durban, South Africa, where staffers saw the value of treatment firsthand, and again were told why reauthorization was necessary.
“The firsthand stories of treatment successes and the compelling practical and moral arguments our global advocates made for the need to reauthorize PEPFAR contributed directly to the passage of this legislation today,” said Tom Myers, General Counsel and Chief of Public Affairs for AHF. “Once again, Congress has shown that America’s leadership in the fight against AIDS has broad bipartisan support. We believe S 1545 represents an improvement over the status quo, in that it assumes and expects there will now be a larger scale up of treatment. We worked hard to make the law better and more effective. Now, after President Obama signs the bill, millions more will get access to lifesaving treatment, and we will get closer to ending the epidemic.”
PEPFAR is the successful US global AIDS program that President George W. Bush first proposed in his 2003 State of the Union address.
In June 2013, at a celebration honoring the 10th anniversary of PEPFAR, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the number of people on treatment supported by PEPFAR had risen to six million, and that globally, one million babies had been born HIV-free thanks to PEPFAR-supported efforts.