I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so I feel the need to highlight something really great that the American government did in 2011 to stabilize economies and enhance peace abroad. What's that? Providing life-saving HIV treatment for 13 million people.

That's right, through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID provided crucial HIV treatment for 13 million people last year. 13 million teachers and nurses and business men and students and mothers and fathers and babies. A generation kept alive through medicines that used to be unavailable in poor places. In the best yearly Mother's Day present ever, PEPFAR provided the medicines to prevent HIV from spreading from 660,000 HIV-positive infected women to their babies. That means that more than 200,000 infants were born HIV-free who would have otherwise been infected. Best Mother's Day present ever.


The AMPATH clinics in Kenya are supported through PEPFAR, and I get to see how lives are changed for the 130,000 patients we have cared for in those clinics. Mercy, who is back in school and telling me all about her dreams to become a scientist. James, who just started walking and could not be more plump and cute. Joyce, who cried tears of joy when I told her that her baby was uninfected thanks to the medicines she had taken during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Beatrice, who used to be the child "people would move away from because of the sores all over her body." Now, she is a healthy eighth-grader, planning her high school coursework.  Lives changed.

PEPFAR released their annual report about their work to Congress, and I can only rejoice in the good that has been done. We can argue about whether more can be done or what the best way to help really is, but this is a great accomplishment. 13 million lives.

Thanks, PEPFAR!  

P.S. - No one from PEPFAR paid me to write this or endorsed this blog in any way. Just one thankful physician-researcher expressing her honest gratitude.

Posted at 09:17


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