Letter to the editor: Far to go on HIV and AIDS
To the editor:
Today, Dec. 1, we recognize World AIDS Day. It’s a day to appreciate how far we’ve come in fighting against the HIV/AIDS pandemic but also remind ourselves how much work remains.
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) continues to give life and hope while fighting this devastating disease.
Living in Kenya as a missionary from 2003 to 2022, I witnessed firsthand the inception and positive impact the PEPFAR program had and continues to have affecting and saving thousands of lives. In 2003 I knew people who died because they could not afford life-sustaining drugs and had little knowledge about HIV/AIDS. However, only a few years later after PEPFAR was up and running in Kenya, I was already beginning to see the positive impact PEPFAR was having. Counseling centers were being established, medical clinics were dispersing affordable/free life-giving drugs, and the public was being educated about HIV/AIDS.
Since its inception in 2003, PEPFAR has saved over 25 million lives, including by helping 5.5 million babies start their lives free of HIV/AIDS. But HIV/AIDS continues to affect millions all over the world, including communities in Kenya I care about deeply. The need for resources and sustained support for PEPFAR is more critical now than ever before so that we don’t lose so much of the progress that has been made.
To ensure continued progress against HIV/AIDS, it is critical that Congress reauthorizes PEPFAR without delay.