News / Health

Stanford Study Gives US Global AIDS Program High Marks

Carol Pearson
Former U.S. president George W. Bush is well remembered in Africa for his plan to help people suffering from AIDS.

In 2003, President Bush launched PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS, to combat the AIDS pandemic in developing countries.

"With the approval of Congress, we'll devote $15 billion to fight AIDS abroad over the next five years, beginning with $2 billion in the year 2004," Bush said.

Much of the money went to relieve the suffering of AIDS victims in sub-Saharan Africa, the epicenter of the pandemic.

The U.S. Global AIDS coordinator who oversees PEPFAR is Ambassador Eric Goosby.  He recalls what it was like before the program was launched.

"AIDS was wiping out a generation and reversing health gains in Africa.  At that time, AIDS threatened the foundations of society," Goosby said.

Today a positive AIDS test no longer means certain death. Ambassador Goosby says it's almost impossible to overstate the U.S. contribution to fighting the AIDS pandemic. Former President Bush has called PEPFAR the greatest achievement of his presidency. A new Standford University assessment says PEPFAR has been essential to slowing the spread of HIV.

"On a global scale, about two thirds of all the people who live with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa," said Dr. Eran Bendavid, who led the research.

Dr. Bendavid and other researchers studied more than a million and a half people in 27 African countries. Nine of these countries had partnership agreements with PEPFAR.  

"A lot of times, there are concerns that foreign aid disappears somewhere in the path between the coffers in Washington and the recipients on the ground," Bendavid said.

PEPFAR funded HIV education, prevention and treatment. And, the researchers found,  the aid actually got to the people who needed it.

"We estimate that in those nine countries, during that period between 2004 and 2008, about 740,000 adults did not die in association with the program," said Bendavid.

Ambassador Goosby describes the impact he believes PEPFAR has had. Before its implementation, he says, hospitals were overcrowded with people dying from AIDS.  

"I was in many hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa where you'd have an open ward and you'd have four or five people having grand-mal seizures happening at the same time. That was a very typical picture. That isn't happening any more," Goosby said.

Ambassador Goosby says most AIDS patients are now treated earlier, as outpatients, before opportunistic infections can set in.

One of the criticisms of PEPFAR is that it siphoned money away from research on other diseases and their treatments. But the Stanford University study found that in countries served by PEPFAR, people without HIV were also doing better.

"The mortality reduction was, if anything, larger in the general population than in the HIV-infected population," Bendavid said.

His research team did not look into why this happened, but Dr. Bendavid believes it could have been the result of improvements in the healthcare system, or because those in better health were able to care for those still in need.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Bruce from: USA
July 01, 2012 9:25 PM
I was sitting in a pub one day and the customers were talking about how doctors need to go back to sewing up people and stop treating people for illness's because the drugs they have been prescribing them is giving them other illness's,and this was in Germany,so what do think they are saying in the US about doctors.Every single plant on this earth has a reason for being here.Use them and be healthy again.Stop looking into a test tube for a solution.Anybody who has studyed plants knows about their use's.Let's stop looking for something that is not there and use what is already here and stop killing Gods people because you are to little to say your sorry and walk away from it.

by: Bruce from: USA
July 01, 2012 9:04 PM
I was reading someplace where these people were using something like an oil that comes from the resins of marijuana for years and the HIV people were living alot longer with a better quality of life than they had without it's use.In the last year they have found that this oil cures cancer with no side affects.If it works why use this man made stuff that has side affects.Makes no sence to me.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs