PEPFAR Response (part 1): Praise

As a variety of sources respond to the re-authorization of PEPFAR, commentary is mixed.  In an attempt to break down the mass of opinion gathering on the issue and make some specific voices more clearly audible, I’m working on a small series looking at different types of response to PEPFAR.

The re-authorization of PEPFAR has been applauded by a wide range of interested parties (including myself).  The opinion in many quarters is that PEPFAR will be remembered as one of the — or, in some cases, the only — positive highlights of George W. Bush’s presidential legacy.  Though it has received remarkably little media attention, many feel that the re-authorization of PEPFAR is one of the most important things that has happened lately in Washington.

Praise for PEPFAR is widespread: even its toughest critics from within the AIDS advocacy community typically object to specific features of the legislation, not the general idea of it.  That being said, I’ll highlight just a few pieces that focus on appreciation for PEPFAR.

The Bush Legacy: In global battle against AIDS, millions saved
Editorial, San Diego Union-Tribune

President Bush cemented his own legacy this week, signing into law a dramatic expansion of his already unprecedented effort against AIDS in Africa and other desperate regions. His program is saving literally millions of lives, and it will stand as his greatest bipartisan foreign policy achievement. […]

With less than six months remaining in the Bush presidency, the rest of his legacy remains at best cloudy. But the impressive results of his battle against the scourge of AIDS cannot be denied. Its impact, in real lives saved, will be felt for many years to come.

An AIDS Victory Up Close
Michael Gerson (Op-Ed), Washington Post

It is now obvious that opposition to AIDS spending is a minority within a conservative minority. And, as G.K. Chesterton observed, sometimes a minority can be a monstrosity.

The largest significance of this bill, of course, is human. Traveling in Rwanda last week, I saw the effect that American health funding can have in a well-run, well-intentioned country. With an infusion of bed nets and effective drugs, child malaria deaths were cut by two-thirds in less than two years. In 2003, about 4 percent of Rwandans in need of AIDS drugs were receiving them. In 2007, that figure was about 92 percent.

PEPFAR deserves support
Rick Santorum (Letter to the Editor), Washington Times

(In this letter, Santorum refutes assertions made in a Washington Times editorial that criticized PEPFAR.)

The Senate bill preserves the PEPFAR program’s successful founding principles, and it deserves the wide support it has achieved.

Efforts to Fight HIV/Aids Combine Treatment, Prevention, Care
Kathryn Mcconnell, (via

PEPFAR’s approach to combating HIV/AIDS combines treatment with prevention and care. Nearly half — or 47 percent — of PEPFAR’s funding in 2007 was focused on treatment, and by March approximately 1.64 million people in 15 targeted countries had received anti-retroviral therapy.

Globally, PEPFAR-supported treatment has reached 1.73 million men, women and children, and another 33 million have received counseling and testing. Thirteen of PEPFAR’s target countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than two-thirds of all people living with HIV/AIDS. […]

In 2007 PEPFAR expanded its scope by integrating with food and nutrition programs its care programs for people living with HIV/AIDS, HIV-positive pregnant and lactating women, and vulnerable children.

PEPFAR also supports programs to strengthen coping and prevention curricula in schools. In 2007, approximately $180 million supported education activities, some of it as grants to buy educational materials in exchange for the schools’ dropping attendance fees for vulnerable children.

Working with other U.S. government programs and agencies such as the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Peace Corps, PEPFAR partners with host country governments, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector.



~ by h.e.g. on August 1, 2008.

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