June 18, 2009
Contact: Patrick Malone
(212)819-9770 ext. 316
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) released Making Prevention Work: Lessons from Zambia on Reshaping the U.S. Response to the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic, a report based on research conducted in Zambia by SIECUS’ international policy experts. Released in advance of the pending confirmation of Dr. Eric Goosby to head the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, the report looks at the effects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) on HIV/AIDS prevention in Zambia. Our research and analysis reveals that the narrow vision of prevention and the structural obstacles created during the Bush administration’s management of PEPFAR have had a harmful impact on the country’s ability to effectively prevent HIV transmission.
“Soon, we will have a new leader at the helm of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and we need to use this opportunity to examine and improve the implementation of PEPFAR. While this funding has been an enormous force for good in the global response to HIV and AIDS,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at SIECUS. “Significant changes around prevention must be a priority of the Obama Administration.”
Zambia has an estimated HIV prevalence of 15.2 percent, making it one of the Sub-Saharan African countries most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The high prevalence of HIV throughout the country has contributed to the decline in average life expectancy, which dropped to 38.7 years in 2008. Over the first four years of PEPFAR, the U.S. government contributed more than $577 million to HIV/AIDS assistance to Zambia. In 2008, a total of $20,544,658 in funding for “Abstinence and Be-Faithful Programs” (AB) programs was channeled to Zambia, an increase of over $5 million in AB funds from the previous year. This funding was estimated to reach 1.5 million people. In contrast, only $12,427,000 in PEPFAR funding was allocated for “Other Prevention” programs, an increase of nearly $4 million from the previous year, with an estimated reach of less than 700,000 people.
“Our experiences in Zambia show that there are many ways that the approach to HIV prevention in PEPFAR must be revised and fine-tuned to more effectively meet the needs of people on the ground,” Smith explained. “We need to incorporate comprehensive sexuality education to better equip individuals to protect themselves from HIV, to expand the outreach of programs that work, and to change PEPFAR policy by increasing the transparency of prevention funds, rescinding the anti-prostitution loyalty oath, and connecting HIV/AIDS related services to other of sexual and reproductive health related services.”
The report concludes with specific policy recommendations, which, when effected, will shore up many of the shortcomings of the current PEPFAR prevention strategy. To view these recommendations and read the entire Making Prevention Work: Lessons from Zambia on Reshaping the U.S. Response to the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic, visit www.siecus.org.
For more information, please contact Patrick Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212)819-9770 ext. 316.