According to a new report, PEPFAR, President Bush’s AIDS treatment program reduced the total number of AID/HIV deaths by 1.2 million from 2004 to 2007. PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) targeted Africa’s most stricken countries.

PEPFAR was launched by President Bush in 2003. Experts from the Stanford University, lead by Eran Bendavid, state in a report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that the program reduced AIDS deaths by approximately 10.5% per year in the most stricken African countries. They added that PEPFAR did not prevent new infections or reduce overall prevalence of AIDS.

PEPFAR focused mainly on treating people who have AIDS, and to a lesser extent on prevention programs, including sexual abstinence. It was the largest single American foreign aid program ever.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Bendavid, a fellow in infectious diseases and health policy, said that the treatment has worked. He added that prevention needs to be in the forefront over the next five years.

  • 58.3 million people were reached through community programs to prevent sexual transmission using the ABC approach
  • 2.2 billion condoms were supplied
  • 16 million pregnancies were helped to try to prevent mother-to-baby HIV transmission, antiretroviral prophylaxis was administered to nearly 1.2 million pregnant women found to be HIV-positive, allowing nearly 240,000 infants to be born HIV-free
  • 2.1 million people were supported with life-saving treatment
  • The share of children receiving PEPFAR treatment rose from 3% in 2004 to 8% in 2008
  • Supported care for more that 10.1 million people affected by HIV/AIDS, of whom over 4 million were children
  • HIV counseling and testing was supported for almost 57 million people
  • Supported TB (tuberculosis) treatment for nearly 400,000 HIV-infected people
  • Partnered with 2,667 organizations, 86% of them local
  • Supported 3.7 million training and retraining encounters with health care workers

Written by Christian Nordqvist