July 30, 2008

Bush Signs Historic Global AIDS Bill Which Will Save At Least Five Million Lives

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), hailed President Bush for signing legislation to re-authorize PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). The measure, which was signed in a formal signing ceremony earlier today in Washington, increases funding for the successful global AIDS program from $15 billion up to $48 billion over the next five years. As a result, PEPFAR, which is likely to be among the President's most successful and lasting legacies, will save five to seven million lives over the next five years.

"Passage of this historic legislation is a crucial turning point in the battle to control AIDS around the world," said Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which provides medical care and services to more than 79,000 individuals in 20 countries worldwide. "Over the past several months, AHF worked diligently to persuade legislators to restore PEPFAR's priority on treatment. We take our hats off to everyone who helped ensure that this lifesaving global AIDS bill became a reality."

PEPFAR will continue to prioritize lifesaving treatment through a requirement in the legislation that more than half of the funds be spent on medical care and lifesaving antiretroviral treatment. As a result, five to seven million people worldwide may have access to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment over the next five years via PEPFAR-backed programs. Currently, less than two million people are receiving treatment through PEPFAR.

The legislation also includes a requirement that PEPFAR providers work to deliver lifesaving treatment in a more efficient manner, and that any reductions in PEPFAR spending due to such efficiencies would trigger a corresponding increase in the goal of the number of those on treatment through the program. The accompanying chart demonstrates how PEPFAR will save millions of additional lives. (http://www.aidshealth.org/images/PEPFARTreatmentGraph072108.gif)

PEPFAR was the result of President Bush's groundbreaking 2003 State of the Union pledge to bring two million HIV positive Africans and others into treatment and prevent seven million new HIV infections via a five-year, $15 billion US-funded program. It currently operates in 15 focus countries and claims to support antiretroviral treatment for 1.4 million people worldwide. PEPFAR has been one of the most successful global humanitarian programs in recent memory, providing medical care to millions of people with HIV/AIDS; it has given hope to the 33 million people with HIV/AIDS in the world.

About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the nation's largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 79,000 individuals in 20 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org.

 WHAT:     Media Availability President Bush Signs PEPFAR Global AIDS Bill, which will save five million lives over next five years.  WHEN:     Wednesday, July 30th 2008 evening Thursday, July 31st 2008 all day  WHO:      Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President +1.323.810.1238 mobile +1.323.860.5300 work Tom Myers, AHF Chief of Public Affairs +1.323.860.5259 mobile  NOTE:     AHF can also arrange for media to speak with one of our global AIDS medical care providers or AIDS treatment patients in Africa, Latin America or the Asia Pacific Region. To arrange, please call Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications Director +1.323.860.5225 work, or +1.323.791.5526 mobile