Menendez, Corker Introduce Legislation to Strengthen PEPFAR and the Global Fight against HIV/AIDS
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-TN) today introduced the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act, legislation to extend critical authorities and strengthen oversight of the landmark 2003 legislation – The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
“PEPFAR has saved millions of lives over the last ten years and today we recommit ourselves to this critical fight by extending and enhancing this vital program,” said Menendez. “On this bipartisan legislation, we worked hand-in-hand with the global health community to strengthen PEPFAR and ensure the program’s continued success for the next ten years.”
“Millions of people are alive today because of PEPFAR’s success in combating the scourge of HIV and AIDS, especially in Africa. This legislation seeks to reinforce these gains through improved oversight and reporting requirements while also extending provisions that promote greater country ownership and expanded international donor support. As the search for a cure continues, passage of this legislation will aid in PEPFAR’s transition from an emergency U.S-led effort to one increasingly sustained by individual countries,” said Corker.
The legislation, S. 1545, appears here.
PEPFAR is the single most successful program to date to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease internationally. Due to PEPFAR, almost 6 million people are receiving life-sustaining antiretroviral treatment and more than 11 million pregnant women received HIV testing and counseling last year. PEPFAR has also provided care and support to nearly 15 million people, including more than 4.5 million orphans and vulnerable children. This is significant progress, but there is still work to do. The PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act will renew Congress’ commitment to this vital program and ensure this work will continue our progress towards an AIDS free generation.
The PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act extends critical authorities and modernizes program oversight to ensure continued access to essential prevention and treatment services. Key provisions in the legislation include:
- Coordination by the Inspectors General: Extends the requirement for the State, USAID, and HHS Inspectors General to develop annual, joint oversight/audit plans. This provision has improved coordination between State, USAID, and CDC, improving program efficiency and results.
- Cost Studies: Extends a reporting requirement intended to capture per-patient costs for PEPFAR-supported treatment and care. This is a key tool for monitoring and improving treatment costs.
- Caps U.S. Participation in the Global Fund: Extends the current 33 percent limitation on U.S. contributions to the Global Fund, continues proportional withholding requirements related to State Sponsors of Terrorism, and updates Global Fund management reforms. The 33 percent cap serves as an effective tool for leveraging other donor funding.
- An Effective Annual Report. Modernizes the existing annual report on PEPFAR to better reflect the program’s movement away from strictly U.S. support and toward greater partner country ownership. As PEPFAR has transitioned from an emergency plan to a program focused on building country ownership and ensuring sustainable results, the information needed to conduct effective oversight has changed significantly. The reporting requirements from the office of the Global AIDS Coordinator have been updated to reflect this transition.
- Protected Funding for Treatment and Orphans and Vulnerable Children. Extends existing funding requirements for treatment and orphans and vulnerable children.
The bipartisan PEPFAR program was announced by President George W. Bush in 2003 to take control of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that threatened to eliminate an entire generation, destroy economies, and destabilize nations. The initiative was authorized by Congress a few months later and reauthorized in 2008. The PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act extends provisions that would otherwise expire on September 30, 2013.