U.S. To S.A.: We’re With You In The Fight Against AIDS

U.S. To S.A.: We’re With You In The Fight Against AIDS

South Africa receives more U.S. President’s Relief AIDS funds than any other country because of its large number of AIDS cases, according to an All Africa report.

Thanks to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, 2.4 million HIV-positive South Africans are on antiretroviral treatment as of 2013, and more than 6.5 million people receive HIV testing and counseling.

In spite of rumors to the contrary, the U.S. is not cancelling its monetary support to fight global AIDS. President Barack Obama proved the U.S.’s commitment on Dec. 2 by signing the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act of 2013, according to a report in All Africa. The law pledges to match $1 for every $2 pledged by other donors, up to $5 billion over the next three years.

The goal of PEPFAR is to save the most lives by using what works, then help countries to improve their health care systems to take care of their own citizens, according to the U.S. government site, pepfar.gov.

The president talked about his faith in South Africa’s ability to conquer the disease.

“I visited a clinic run by Bishop Desmond Tutu and…they’re doing extraordinary work,” he said. “They’re saving lives and they’re changing the way their country, and the world, approaches this disease.”

Patrick H. Gaspard, the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, said the U.S. and South African governments will work together to improve how health care is delivered in the fight against AIDS. In addition to providing financial support through the Global Fund and PEPFAR, the U.S. will “…provide technical assistance and support for service delivery, policy reform and coordinated and financial commitments,” Gaspard said.

The Global Fund’s purpose is to bring world countries together to fund the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The bill to continue PEPFAR support was passed easily by unanimous vote in both houses of the U.S. Congress, a feat that’s typically difficult to accomplish without arm twisting and debate.