FindingsCongress makes the following findings:
During the last 20 years, HIV/AIDS has assumed pandemic proportions, spreading from the most severely affected regions, sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, to all corners of the world, and leaving an unprecedented path of death and devastation.
According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), more than 65,000,000 individuals worldwide have been infected with HIV since the epidemic began, more than 25,000,000 of these individuals have lost their lives to the disease, and more than 14,000,000 children have been orphaned by the disease. HIV/AIDS is the fourth-highest cause of death in the world.
At the end of 2002, an estimated 42,000,000 individuals were infected with HIV or living with AIDS, of which more than 75 percent live in Africa or the Caribbean. Of these individuals, more than 3,200,000 were children under the age of 15 and more than 19,200,000 were women.
Women are four times more vulnerable to infection than are men and are becoming infected at increasingly high rates, in part because many societies do not provide poor women and young girls with the social, legal, and cultural protections against high risk activities that expose them to HIV/AIDS.
Women and children who are refugees or are internally displaced persons are especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation and violence, thereby increasing the possibility of HIV infection.
As the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS has killed more than 19,400,000 individuals (more than 3 times the number of AIDS deaths in the rest of the world) and will claim the lives of one-quarter of the population, mostly adults, in the next decade.
An estimated 2,000,000 individuals in Latin America and the Caribbean and another 7,100,000 individuals in Asia and the Pacific region are infected with HIV or living with AIDS. Infection rates are rising alarmingly in Eastern Europe (especially in the Russian Federation), Central Asia, and China.
HIV/AIDS threatens personal security by affecting the health, lifespan, and productive capacity of the individual and the social cohesion and economic well-being of the family.
HIV/AIDS undermines the economic security of a country and individual businesses in that country by weakening the productivity and longevity of the labor force across a broad array of economic sectors and by reducing the potential for economic growth over the long term.
HIV/AIDS destabilizes communities by striking at the most mobile and educated members of society, many of whom are responsible for security at the local level and governance at the national and subnational levels as well as many teachers, health care personnel, and other community workers vital to community development and the effort to combat HIV/AIDS. In some countries the overwhelming challenges of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are accelerating the outward migration of critically important health care professionals.
HIV/AIDS weakens the defenses of countries severely affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis through high infection rates among members of their military forces and voluntary peacekeeping personnel. According to UNAIDS, in sub-Saharan Africa, many military forces have infection rates as much as five times that of the civilian population.
(10) HIV/AIDS poses a serious security issue for the international community by—
increasing the potential for political instability and economic devastation, particularly in those countries and regions most severely affected by the disease;
decreasing the capacity to resolve conflicts through the introduction of peacekeeping forces because the environments into which these forces are introduced pose a high risk for the spread of HIV/AIDS; and
increasing the vulnerability of local populations to HIV/AIDS in conflict zones from peacekeeping troops with HIV infection rates significantly higher than civilian populations.
The devastation wrought by the HIV/AIDS pandemic is compounded by the prevalence of tuberculosis and malaria, particularly in developing countries where the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, including women, children, and those individuals living with HIV/AIDS, become infected. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria accounted for more than 5,700,000 deaths in 2001 and caused debilitating illnesses in millions more.
Together, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and related diseases are undermining agricultural production throughout Africa. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, 7,000,000 agricultural workers throughout 25 African countries have died from AIDS since 1985. Countries with poorly developed agricultural systems, which already face chronic food shortages, are the hardest hit, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where high HIV prevalence rates are compounding the risk of starvation for an estimated 14,400,000 people.
Tuberculosis is the cause of death for one out of every three people with AIDS worldwide and is a highly communicable disease. HIV infection is the leading threat to tuberculosis control. Because HIV infection so severely weakens the immune system, individuals with HIV and latent tuberculosis infection have a 100 times greater risk of developing active tuberculosis diseases thereby increasing the risk of spreading tuberculosis to others. Tuberculosis, in turn, accelerates the onset of AIDS in individuals infected with HIV.
Malaria, the most deadly of all tropical parasitic diseases, has been undergoing a dramatic resurgence in recent years due to increasing resistance of the malaria parasite to inexpensive and effective drugs. At the same time, increasing resistance of mosquitoes to standard insecticides makes control of transmission difficult to achieve. The World Health Organization estimates that between 300,000,000 and 500,000,000 new cases of malaria occur each year, and annual deaths from the disease number between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000. Persons infected with HIV are particularly vulnerable to the malaria parasite. The spread of HIV infection contributes to the difficulties of controlling resurgence of the drug resistant malaria parasite.
HIV/AIDS is first and foremost a health problem. Successful strategies to stem the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic will require clinical medical interventions, the strengthening of health care delivery systems and infrastructure, and determined national leadership and increased budgetary allocations for the health sector in countries affected by the epidemic as well as measures to address the social and behavioral causes of the problem and its impact on families, communities, and societal sectors.
Basic interventions to prevent new HIV infections and to bring care and treatment to people living with AIDS, such as voluntary counseling and testing and mother-to-child transmission programs, are achieving meaningful results and are cost-effective. The challenge is to expand these interventions from a pilot program basis to a national basis in a coherent and sustainable manner.
Appropriate treatment of individuals with HIV/AIDS can prolong the lives of such individuals, preserve their families, prevent children from becoming orphans, and increase productivity of such individuals by allowing them to lead active lives and reduce the need for costly hospitalization for treatment of opportunistic infections caused by HIV.
Nongovernmental organizations, including faith-based organizations, with experience in health care and HIV/AIDS counseling, have proven effective in combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic and can be a resource in assisting indigenous organizations in severely affected countries in their efforts to provide treatment and care for individuals infected with HIV/AIDS.
Faith-based organizations are making an important contribution to HIV prevention and AIDS treatment programs around the world. Successful HIV prevention programs in Uganda, Jamaica, and elsewhere have included local churches and faith-based groups in efforts to promote behavior changes to prevent HIV, to reduce stigma associated with HIV infection, to treat those afflicted with the disease, and to care for orphans. The Catholic Church alone currently cares for one in four people being treated for AIDS worldwide. Faith-based organizations possess infrastructure, experience, and knowledge that will be needed to carry out these programs in the future and should be an integral part of United States efforts.
Uganda has experienced the most significant decline in HIV rates of any country in Africa, including a decrease among pregnant women from 20.6 percent in 1991 to 7.9 percent in 2000.
Uganda made this remarkable turnaround because President Yoweri Museveni spoke out early, breaking long-standing cultural taboos, and changed widespread perceptions about the disease. His leadership stands as a model for ways political leaders in Africa and other developing countries can mobilize their nations, including civic organizations, professional associations, religious institutions, business and labor to combat HIV/AIDS.
Uganda’s successful AIDS treatment and prevention program is referred to as the ABC model: “Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms”, in order of priority. Jamaica, Zambia, Ethiopia and Senegal have also successfully used the ABC model. Beginning in 1986, Uganda brought about a fundamental change in sexual behavior by developing a low-cost program with the message: “Stop having multiple partners. Be faithful. Teenagers, wait until you are married before you begin sex.”.
By 1995, 95 percent of Ugandans were reporting either one or zero sexual partners in the past year, and the proportion of sexually active youth declined significantly from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. The greatest percentage decline in HIV infections and the greatest degree of behavioral change occurred in those 15 to 19 years old. Uganda’s success shows that behavior change, through the use of the ABC model, is a very successful way to prevent the spread of HIV.
(21) The magnitude and scope of the HIV/AIDS crisis demands a comprehensive, long-term, international response focused upon addressing the causes, reducing the spread, and ameliorating the consequences of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, including—
prevention and education, care and treatment, basic and applied research, and training of health care workers, particularly at the community and provincial levels, and other community workers and leaders needed to cope with the range of consequences of the HIV/AIDS crisis;
development of health care infrastructure and delivery systems through cooperative and coordinated public efforts and public and private partnerships;
development and implementation of national and community-based multisector strategies that address the impact of HIV/AIDS on the individual, family, community, and nation and increase the participation of at-risk populations in programs designed to encourage behavioral and social change and reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS; and
coordination of efforts between international organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Health Organization (WHO), national governments, and private sector organizations, including faith-based organizations.
(22) The United States has the capacity to lead and enhance the effectiveness of the international community’s response by—
providing substantial financial resources, technical expertise, and training, particularly of health care personnel and community workers and leaders;
promoting vaccine and microbicide research and the development of new treatment protocols in the public and commercial pharmaceutical research sectors;
making available pharmaceuticals and diagnostics for HIV/AIDS therapy;
encouraging governments and faith-based and community-based organizations to adopt policies that treat HIV/AIDS as a multisectoral public health problem affecting not only health but other areas such as agriculture, education, the economy, the family and society, and assisting them to develop and implement programs corresponding to these needs;
promoting healthy lifestyles, including abstinence, delaying sexual debut, monogamy, marriage, faithfulness, use of condoms, and avoiding substance abuse; and
encouraging active involvement of the private sector, including businesses, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the medical and scientific communities, charitable foundations, private and voluntary organizations and nongovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, and other nonprofit entities.
Prostitution and other sexual victimization are degrading to women and children and it should be the policy of the United States to eradicate such practices. The sex industry, the trafficking of individuals into such industry, and sexual violence are additional causes of and factors in the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. One in nine South Africans is living with AIDS, and sexual assault is rampant, at a victimization rate of one in three women. Meanwhile in Cambodia, as many as 40 percent of prostitutes are infected with HIV and the country has the highest rate of increase of HIV infection in all of Southeast Asia. Victims of coercive sexual encounters do not get to make choices about their sexual activities.
Strong coordination must exist among the various agencies of the United States to ensure effective and efficient use of financial and technical resources within the United States Government with respect to the provision of international HIV/AIDS assistance.
In his address to Congress on January 28, 2003, the President announced the Administration’s intention to embark on a five-year emergency plan for AIDS relief, to confront HIV/AIDS with the goals of preventing 7,000,000 new HIV/AIDS infections, treating at least 2,000,000 people with life-extending drugs, and providing humane care for millions of people suffering from HIV/AIDS, and for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
In this address to Congress, the President stated the following: “Today, on the continent of Africa, nearly 30,000,000 people have the AIDS virus—including 3,000,000 children under the age of 15. There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection. More than 4,000,000 require immediate drug treatment. Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims—only 50,000—are receiving the medicine they need.”.
Furthermore, the President focused on care and treatment of HIV/AIDS in his address to Congress, stating the following: “Because the AIDS diagnosis is considered a death sentence, many do not seek treatment. Almost all who do are turned away. A doctor in rural South Africa describes his frustration. He says, ‘We have no medicines. Many hospitals tell people, you’ve got AIDS, we can’t help you. Go home and die.’ In an age of miraculous medicines, no person should have to hear those words. AIDS can be prevented. Anti-retroviral drugs can extend life for many years * * * Ladies and gentlemen, seldom has history offered a greater opportunity to do so much for so many.”.
Finally, the President stated that “[w]e have confronted, and will continue to confront, HIV/AIDS in our own country”, proposing now that the United States should lead the world in sparing innocent people from a plague of nature, and asking Congress “to commit $15,000,000,000 over the next five years, including nearly $10,000,000,000 in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean”.
On May 27, 2003, the President signed this chapter into law, launching the largest international public health program of its kind ever created.
(30) Between 2003 and 2008, the United States, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and in conjunction with other bilateral programs and the multilateral Global Fund has helped to—
provide antiretroviral therapy for over 1,900,000 people;
ensure that over 150,000 infants, most of whom would have likely been infected with HIV during pregnancy or childbirth, were not infected; and
provide palliative care and HIV prevention assistance to millions of other people.
While United States leadership in the battles against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria has had an enormous impact, these diseases continue to take a terrible toll on the human race.
(32) According to the 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)—
an estimated 2,100,000 people died of AIDS-related causes in 2007; and
an estimated 2,500,000 people were newly infected with HIV during that year.
According to the World Health Organization, malaria kills more than 1,000,000 people per year, 70 percent of whom are children under 5 years of age.
According to the World Health Organization, ⅓ of the world’s population is infected with the tuberculosis bacterium, and tuberculosis is 1 of the greatest infectious causes of death of adults worldwide, killing 1,600,000 people per year.
Efforts to promote abstinence, fidelity, the correct and consistent use of condoms, the delay of sexual debut, and the reduction of concurrent sexual partners represent important elements of strategies to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS.
(36) According to UNAIDS—
women and girls make up nearly 60 percent of persons in sub-Saharan Africa who are HIV positive;
women and girls are more biologically, economically, and socially vulnerable to HIV infection; and
gender issues are critical components in the effort to prevent HIV/AIDS and to care for those affected by the disease.
Children who have lost a parent to HIV/AIDS, who are otherwise directly affected by the disease, or who live in areas of high HIV prevalence may be vulnerable to the disease or its socioeconomic effects.
Lack of health capacity, including insufficient personnel and inadequate infrastructure, in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions of the world is a critical barrier that limits the effectiveness of efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and to achieve other global health goals.
(39) On March 30, 2007, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies released a report entitled “PEPFAR Implementation: Progress and Promise”, which found that budget allocations setting percentage levels for spending on prevention, care, and treatment and for certain subsets of activities within the prevention category—
have “adversely affected implementation of the U.S. Global AIDS Initiative”;
have inhibited comprehensive, integrated, evidence based approaches;
“have been counterproductive”;
“may have been helpful initially in ensuring a balance of attention to activities within the 4 categories of prevention, treatment, care, and orphans and vulnerable children”;
“have also limited PEPFAR’s ability to tailor its activities in each country to the local epidemic and to coordinate with the level of activities in the countries’ national plans”; and
(F) should be removed by Congress and replaced with more appropriate mechanisms that—
“ensure accountability for results from Country Teams to the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and to Congress”; and
“ensure that spending is directly linked to and commensurate with necessary efforts to achieve both country and overall performance targets for prevention, treatment, care, and orphans and vulnerable children”.
(40) The United States Government has endorsed the principles of harmonization in coordinating efforts to combat HIV/AIDS commonly referred to as the “Three Ones”, which includes—
1 agreed HIV/AIDS action framework that provides the basis for coordination of the work of all partners;
1 national HIV/AIDS coordinating authority, with a broadbased multisectoral mandate; and
1 agreed HIV/AIDS country-level monitoring and evaluating system.
(41) In the Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases, of April 26–27, 2001 (referred to in this chapter as the “Abuja Declaration”), the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)—
declared that they would “place the fight against HIV/AIDS at the forefront and as the highest priority issue in our respective national development plans”;
committed “TO TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND PROVIDE LEADERSHIP for the activities of the National AIDS Commissions/Councils”;
resolved “to lead from the front the battle against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases by personally ensuring that such bodies were properly convened in mobilizing our societies as a whole and providing focus for unified national policymaking and programme implementation, ensuring coordination of all sectors at all levels with a gender perspective and respect for human rights, particularly to ensure equal rights for people living with HIV/AIDS”; and
pledged “to set a target of allocating at least 15% of our annual budget to the improvement of the health sector”.