PEPFAR Act assures five more years of U.S. HIV, TB responses

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Bipartisan, bicameral legislation extends U.S. Leadership Act, confirming ongoing commitments to PEPFAR and the Global Fund

Capitol1118Proving that Congress can act, unified, swiftly and decisively, the United States Senate Monday unanimously passed legislation renewing authorization of the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, and supporting the program’s goals.

The PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act of 2013, introduced in September by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Sen. Robert Menendez, and ranking Republican Sen. Bob Corker, overcame odds that could have sunk a less popular effort. Committee members moved quickly to approve the bill the night before lawmakers’ failure to come to agreement on domestic issues closed the government. The measure, which promises the continuation of efforts that have saved millions of lives that would have otherwise been lost to HIV, and protected more than a million infants from being born with the virus that leads to AIDS in the last decade, passed by unanimous voice vote. It is expected to pass in the House of Representatives, where it has been sponsored by Reps. Ed Royce and Eliot Engel, joined by Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen, today.

In addition to extending authorization of the 2008 Lantos Hyde U.S. Leadership Act, which allowed funding for PEPFAR, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and which officially expired the day before the government shutdown began, the legislation adds reporting requirements. Increased oversight measures included in the legislation will monitor the success of efforts to reach HIV-infected people with antiretroviral treatment, reach those with HIV and TB coinfection with preventive and therapeutic treatment, and efforts to train, recruit and retain health workers.

The bill was supported by amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, HealthGap, the End Game, ONE, World Vision, Family Health International, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, Save the Children, American Jewish World Service, AVAC, and the Center for Global Health Policy, which produces this blog.

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