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ONE Statement on 20th Anniversary of PEPFAR Announcement

WASHINGTON– Saturday, January 28, marks 20 years since President George W. Bush announced plans for a historic HIV/AIDS initiative – The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – that would forever alter the trajectory of the global HIV/AIDS fight. 

In his State of the Union address that night, President Bush introduced PEPFAR as a $15 billion program with a goal to prevent 7 million new HIV infections and treat 2 million people. Today, $100 billion later, PEPFAR has helped save 25 million lives and put 20 million people on life-saving drugs. 

“It was three minutes in a speech twenty years ago but, today, millions more people are alive because of it,” said ONE President Tom Hart. “The story of PEPFAR is so much more than that moment – from the lawmakers, doctors, and activists who stood side by side and fought for a global HIV/AIDS relief program long before its announcement, to the millions of mothers, fathers, siblings, and children whose very lives are a testament to its success today. PEPFAR is a beacon of hope and a shining example of the power of bipartisan ideas and leadership in the face of a crisis that demanded action.

“On this major milestone, we celebrate PEPFAR’s enormous progress and, still, warn against complacency. We are not at the finish line. Millions of people still die from this preventable, treatable disease. Congress must reauthorize PEPFAR this year – we’ll work hard to ensure it does so with the bipartisan support the program has enjoyed for two decades.” 

Read more about the behind-the-scenes efforts to establish PEPFAR in ONE’s new blog post, the first in a series, “PEPFAR at 20”, highlighting the program’s twenty years of incredible progress.