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PEPFAR: 20 Years of Progress, Partnership, and Impact

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which President George W. Bush proposed as part of his State of the Union Address, Congress enacted with near-unanimous support in 2003, and program implementation began in 2004, is arguably one of history’s most successful global health programs—investing more than $100 billion in the global HIV/AIDS campaign, saving 25 million lives, and preventing millions of infections over the past 20 years. It is, according to the State Department, the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease.

When President Bush announced the program, 5 million people around the world were contracting HIV annually, and the virus was costing vulnerable countries, particularly across Africa, a generation of their people. Two decades later, through the extraordinary commitment of the United States’ leaders and people—and through partnerships with such multilateral institutions as the World Health Organization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria—PEPFAR has changed the course of the HIV pandemic, turning despair into hope across the globe.

The Bipartisan Policy Center has extensively studied the impact of PEPFAR, issuing reports in 2015 and 2018 that demonstrated the rippling effects of the program that go beyond improved HIV/AIDS health outcomes. Our most recent analysis indicates that by reauthorizing this program, members of Congress will further PEPFAR’s impact on the HIV pandemic, while also nourishing even more goodwill for the United States.

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