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USIS Washington File
Remarks by Secretary Rice on Fifth Annual PEPFAR Report: Report highlights achievements of worldwide effort to combat HIV/AIDS
<p>USIS Washington File</p>
January 12, 2009

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE | Office of the Spokesman | January 12, 2009


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

On the Release of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Fifth Annual Report to Congress

January 12, 2009

Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. I am pleased this morning to release the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief 2009, the Annual Report to Congress. This report highlights the achievements of the first five years of PEPFAR, the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in human history. In 2003, when President George W. Bush announced PEPFAR, many still doubted whether HIV prevention, care, and treatment services could ever be provided in a resource-limited setting where HIV/AIDS death -- was a death sentence. But just five years later, thanks to strong partnerships between the American people and the people of host nations around the world, we've seen what was once thought to be impossible become truly possible.

When PEPFAR was announced, the President set out aggressive goals of supporting treatment for 2 million people, preventing 7 million new infections, and care for 10 million people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, including orphans and vulnerable children. It is estimated that in 2003, only 50,000 people living with HIV in all of Sub-Saharan Africa were receiving antiretroviral treatment. Ahead of schedule, the United States has fulfilled its commitment to support treatment for 2 million people. As of September 30, 2008, PEPFAR supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 2.1 million men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS around the world.

PEPFAR has also supported prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services for women during nearly 16 million pregnancies, allowing an estimated 237,000 babies to be born without HIV, and we've reached millions with the ABC message developed in Africa.

Another milestone is in our goal for care. We now support care for more than 10.1 million people affected worldwide, including more than 4 million orphans and vulnerable children who represent the hope for a brighter future. But of course, the best way to help children keep their parents is to keep their parents from becoming infected in the first place and to provide treatment for those parents who do need it, because no program can ever substitute for a parent. So our investments in keeping parents alive are giving children a better future.

President Bush has said on many occasions, though, that one should not become lost in these remarkable statistics. Because what PEPFAR really has done is to provide, more than anything, hope. A disease that was once thought to be a death sentence, a disease that was once thought sure to separate parents from their children, is now a disease that America is helping people to live with and to manage, so that they can be a part of their children's lives going forward.

I want you to know that over the years, I have been fortunate to be in many countries around the world, including places like Uganda and South Africa, to see the effect that PEPFAR is having. I cannot think of a better example of American ingenuity and American generosity, but also America's desire to work with people who want to better their own lives in transformational diplomacy, than PEPFAR has been.

I've been enormously proud as Secretary of State to be the chief officer responsible for this program. I've been enormously proud to help the United States Government and our bipartisan supporters in Congress to make this program, which is a realization of President Bush's vision, a reality. I've had the great honor to work first with Randy Tobias, and now with Mark Dybul, to make certain that PEPFAR is achieving its goals. And as we leave office, I don't think that anything will stand as strongly in the hearts and minds of people around the world, but also in our own consciousness, as the work and the achievements of PEPFAR.

And so I'm now really honored to give the floor to Mark Dybul, who has led this program with enormous energy and strength. I had the chance, Mark, to thank your great staff a few weeks ago for their compassion and for their effectiveness, and now I will turn over the floor to you to report on the President's program and our report for Congress for 2009. Thank you.