U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Is Crucial, Leading HIV Organizations Say
More than 50 organizations working to end the HIV epidemic in the United States and globally are urging the White House to quickly nominate a leader for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief as the Department of State’s U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.
In a letter sent July 16 to President Biden, the groups note that PEPFAR has been without a permanent leader for more than seven months. This is the longest delay since the inception of the program in nominating a new U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, which raises concerns about the U.S. commitment to PEPFAR and its goals.
As the flagship U.S. global health program, PEPFAR has saved over 20 million lives and currently provides over 18 million people with lifesaving antiretroviral therapy. It has helped build healthcare systems in countries with weak health capacity, including supporting over 70,000 healthcare facilities and training over 290,000 healthcare workers – infrastructure that countries have leveraged for pandemic preparedness and response and global health security.
At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse more than a decade and a half of significant, hard-earned gains in preventing HIV transmission and decreasing HIV-related deaths, the U.S. needs to provide committed leadership towards ending the global HIV epidemic.