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Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Peace Corps Recognizes HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day

June 5 marks 40 years since the CDC published the first report describing HIV/AIDS, bringing the virus to global awareness

WASHINGTON – Today, the Peace Corps joins with the global community to mark 40 years since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the first report describing what would become known as the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since then, AIDS-related illnesses have resulted in over 32 million deaths around the world.

With the inception of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003, the Peace Corps became part of a coordinated U.S. government response to the disease. The agency has played a unique role in providing comprehensive HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment services by targeting hard-to-reach populations and instituting change through sustainable community efforts that include education, outreach and emergency relief.

“The Peace Corps honors the millions of people who have lost their lives to the HIV/AIDS epidemic over the last 40 years, and we recognize those living with HIV/AIDS today – in the U.S. and around the world,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn. “Everyone, regardless of their HIV status, deserves to live healthy, dignified lives. As our volunteers return to service, we will reenergize our efforts in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention, mitigation, education and de-stigmatization until that goal is accomplished.”

June 5 is now recognized as HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day–a time to reflect on the resiliency of the individuals who were on the frontlines of early activism and recommit to ending the epidemic.

“For the Peace Corps, HIV is a cross-sector programing priority, and HIV prevention, care, and support activities are implemented across our six program sectors,” said Dr. Kechi Achebe, Director of the Peace Corps’ Office of Global Health and HIV. “Volunteers work hand-in-hand with local professionals to improve community health and mitigate the effects of HIV around the world.”

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About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans of all ages have served in over 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.