U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
November 27, 2018
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, good morning everyone. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to welcome you all to the State Department. It is wonderful, and I am proud that we have so many partners linking arms with us in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
It’s now 15 years ago when President George W. Bush established PEPFAR as a 21st century statement of America’s concern for the most vulnerable. President Trump has remained committed to these efforts to end the AIDS pandemic.
Since the launch in 2003 of PEPFAR – thanks to strong support from three presidents, multiple Congresses, and our many partners around the globe – we have saved more than 17 million lives. We have prevented millions of new HIV infections. And AIDS-related deaths globally have been cut in half since their peak in 2004. Quite simply, the HIV/AIDS pandemic has gone from crisis towards control.
And at every step of the way, people like you – faith leaders, faith-based organizations, and communities of faith – have been cornerstones of our effort. You were in the communities hardest hit by AIDS long before the pandemic began, and we know you will be there long after the epidemic is controlled. In some parts of the world, in some places, faith-based institutions provide as much as 70 percent of healthcare delivery to people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. That’s a remarkable testimony to your passion, your caring, your commitment, and to your love for your fellow man.
The 2018 PEPFAR Strategy Progress Report, which I released this past September, shows the strides we have taken – strides we have taken together. Guided by the Trump administration’s PEPFAR Strategy, up to 13 high-HIV-burden countries are poised to achieve epidemic control within the next two years. What I am particularly proud of in this strategy is that PEPFAR and our partners are firmly focused on populations that are often being left behind, including young women, men, and children.
Today, I am also pleased to announce PEPFAR’s latest annual program results. As of September 30th, of this year, PEPFAR supports over 14.6 million people with lifesaving antiretroviral treatment. This is up from the only 50,000 who were on treatment in Africa when the program began back in 2003.
I am also pleased to announce new and exciting progress toward achieving epidemic control in Nigeria and Ethiopia. We aren’t announcing the specific data sets just yet, but Ethiopia is on the verge of achieving HIV epidemic control – a remarkable accomplishment. And Nigeria may be closer to achieving HIV epidemic control than was previously thought, or even previously thought possible. This is remarkable work. The majority of Nigerians who report being on HIV treatment have suppressed their viral replication, allowing them to thrive and not to transmit the virus.
There’s one more great story that I want to share with you this morning. It’s a story about PEPFAR mattering to all Americans. By focusing resources where the HIV burden is the greatest – and where the highest impacts can be achieved – PEPFAR demonstrates the power of U.S. foreign assistance when it is tied to accountability, transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness.
So many times in Washington, the proposed solution to every problem is simply more money, regardless of whether it actually solves a problem. But the investment we ask taxpayers to make in PEPFAR is clearly paying dividends of life and hope. We can measure it, and we can see the effectiveness. And you all are in good part responsible for that.
Today, a generation that could have been lost is instead thriving and building a brighter future. PEPFAR has truly been one of the great American triumphs of the 21st century. And we’re proud to continue this work alongside each of you, our faith-based partners.