WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today praised committee passage of their legislation to extend the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for another five years. PEPFAR was established in 2003 as an emergency response to alleviate the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, primarily on the continent of Africa.
“For more than 15 years, PEPFAR has saved millions of lives by beginning to reverse the devastation of HIV/AIDS through targeted treatment and prevention,” said Corker. “With continued U.S. support and the increasing leadership of partner governments, PEPFAR is in position to the control the epidemic. I’m proud to have played a role in continuing to reauthorize this successful global public health effort, and I appreciate the support of Senator Menendez and of the committee.”
“Through this legislation, Congress is sending a clear signal that despite recommended cuts to the program from the Trump Administration, the United States has no intention of abandoning the global fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Menendez. “The generosity of the American people through PEPFAR has changed the tide of human history, enabling millions of people to access lifesaving treatment who would otherwise not have had access. However more work remains to be done to end the epidemic. I’m very pleased the Foreign Relations Committee approved this legislation today, and look forward to its swift consideration by the full Senate.”
The PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018, coauthored by Corker and Menendez, continues authorization and oversight of PEPFAR through 2024 to ensure prevention and treatment services remain available to those in need. Fifteen years ago, there were only 50,000 people in sub-Sahara Africa with access to antiretroviral drugs. Today, in large part thanks to the United States, there are more than 14 million people receiving medication and 2.2 million babies were born HIV free to mothers receiving treatment. PEPFAR also continues to report historic improvements, including, for the first time, significant declines in new HIV diagnosis among adolescent girls and young women.