PEPFAR: President Bush’s War on HIV/AIDS
The legacy of former President George W. Bush is seen as an ominous cloud rather than a beam of sunshine, especially due to the number of Americans who continually blame President Bush for many of their woes or current state of lament hardship. Regardless of your opinion concerning the former President’s legacy, President Bush does have some positive marks. In 2003, President George W. Bush initiated the greatest effort to combat any disease in history. This noble effort by the United States sought out to provide aid and relief to those suffering from the epidemic HIV/AIDS in regions with scarce or insufficient resources. The initiative was titled “PEPFAR” (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), and carried a cost of $15 billion dollars over the course of five years (2003-2008). The multibillion dollar commitment made by the United States sought to attack the AIDS epidemic that has been marching throughout Africa, and regions of the world. PEPFAR’s first phase began to establish care and treatment programs, providing necessary resources to dull or alleviate the devastating effects AIDS has been causing those infected with the disease. However, PEPFAR’s real success was seen in expanding PEPFAR beyond care and treatment, into HIV prevention as well. During this early stage of PEPFAR, care and treatment were provided to over 10 million people, with 4 million of whom being orphans or children considered vulnerable.(Washington Post: 2009). In addition, prevention methods of mother-to-child treatment services were provided during approximately 16 million pregnancies. In order to sufficiently combat HIV/AIDS, a necessary sense of urgency, determination, time and effort must be applied to attack the HIV/AIDS epidemic. An approach that expands prevention programs as well as care and treatment programs is essential in establishing sufficient efforts to HIV/AIDS prevention as we look to find, and sustain control over this epidemic. For PEPFAR to move forward, building upon its successes is important. However, a concentrated focus on promoting programs in regions such as Africa are most pertinent to established sustained progress for a brighter future. “It is my hope, that together, we can move closer to the day when we eliminate this disease from the face of the earth.” (President Obama: 2009).
PEPFAR has targeted various areas across the globe such as Vietnam, Haiti, Guyana and twelve sub-Saharan nations in Africa. In 2008, marking the end of the Bush administration, as well as the beginning of the Obama administration, more than 2 million men, women and children have received ART (antiretroviral treatment). Due to these efforts, approximately 240,000 infants were born free of an HIV infection. (Washington Post: 2009). In any aspect of life, it is always easier to dwell on success and overlook perceived failures. In fact, spending too much time discussing and focusing on the success of PEPFAR is exactly what may open the doors for additional failure. Roger England from “The British Medical Journal”, points out that providers for AIDS relief, with the United States being the largest, “….imposes its own priorities, plans and reporting requirements, thus massively increasing the administrative burden on countries.” (English: 2007). Roger England is quick to point out the palpable aspect of a larger government (e.g. The United States Government) acting as a burden to the smaller governmental administrations. As too much intervention in another nation’s administration and administrative problems is a distinct criticism, I hardly see it in a negative light. Not only is the largest concentrated effort being made by the United States to combat and prevent HIV/AIDS, but a lack of administrative success in these previously mentioned areas, such as sub-Saharan Africa, must take a portion of the blame as well. The United States, along with its significantly larger wallet, may not have...
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