Statement by Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn on the 20th Anniversary of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

“This weekend, we acknowledge the 20th anniversary of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and honor the tremendous progress this coordinated U.S. Government effort has made toward eliminating HIV/AIDS as a public health threat. Launched by President Bush in 2003, and thanks to the compassion and generosity of the American people, PEPFAR has helped save more than 25 million lives across the globe.

Since PEPFAR’s inception, the Peace Corps has been a strategic partner of the U.S. Government’s response to HIV/AIDS and has played a unique role in targeting hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations and partnering with individuals and communities to promote healthy behaviors and mitigate the impact of the disease. I am so grateful for the many Peace Corps Volunteers, community changemakers, and staff who have contributed to PEPFAR’s inspiring epidemic control achievements over the last two decades.

Working directly with people living with HIV and community-level institutions such as schools and health centers, the Peace Corps currently supports HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in 13 PEPFAR countries where staff, Volunteers, and community counterparts collaborate to organize and lead activities such as delivering Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe (DREAMS) programming, creating community gardens to support the nutritional needs of people living with HIV, and generating demand for testing and self-testing.

The Peace Corps’ continued presence in underserved communities, our work with youth, and our longstanding partnerships with local health actors continue to be effective contributions to the coordinated HIV/AIDS response. This anniversary, we challenge ourselves to increase our efforts to amplify community leaders who are dedicated to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, to scale up opportunities for young people, and to work with other U.S. Government partners to more systematically localize efforts for sustained epidemic control. As we move toward an AIDS-free generation, the Peace Corps is committed to contributing to the end of the HIV/AIDS by 2030.”

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