AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today praised the U.S. House of Representatives for unanimously approving H.R. 6651, the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018 (H.R. 6651) on November 13. Congressional authorization of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief was set to expire at the end of the year. PEPFAR was established in 2003 by an act of Congress proposed by U.S. President George W. Bush. Since its establishment it has saved over 16 million lives and transformed the global response to HIV.
“AHF commends the co-sponsors of the legislation, U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ), who led the effort in the House to get support from all their congressional colleagues and we acknowledge and appreciate the fact that they were able to successfully guide the bill to a unanimous voice vote,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We strongly urge the U.S. Senate to now approve its identical version of this global AIDS funding bill at the earliest opportunity.”
Since its beginnings, PEPFAR has enjoyed the strong support of three U.S. presidents and eight U.S. congresses, which appropriated $80 billion over 15 years. The United States remains the largest supporter of the global HIV/AIDS response, the largest commitment by any country to fight any single disease.
“This rare bipartisan congressional action sends a clear message to the world that AIDS isn’t over by any measure,” added Weinstein. “Over 20 million people living with HIV still have no access to life-saving treatment. Nearly one million people die from AIDS every year, and there still are over one and half million new infections every year.”
AHF urges its U.S. partners, staff and clients to call their U.S. Senators today at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to quickly approve the identical bill, S. 3476, the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018, now pending on the floor of the U.S. Senate.