Ambassador Eric Goosby, MD, is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and the honorary presenter for this year’s David E. Barmes Global Health Lecture, held every year at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In his speech, “PEPFAR: Moving From Science to Program to Save Lives,” Amb. Goosby’s focused on progress that the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has made in the fight against HIV/AIDS and how this progress is helping to improve our future.
Among its many accomplishments, PEPFAR supports treatment for 3.9 million people around the world, has supported 1 million male circumcisions (which helps protect against the virus), and has been instrumental in showing the world “the heart of the American people” through “health diplomacy.”
PEPFAR is also “prioritizing smart investments [by engaging in] what works.” By eliminating redundancy, finding alternative and cost-effective solutions, and improving partner coordination, PEPFAR has strived for efficiency throughout its work. For example, PEPFAR has successfully driven down the per-person cost of HIV/AIDS treatment by a little more than two-thirds, or from $1,100 to $335 per year.
Amb. Goosby noted how research-driven agencies like the NIH have played significant roles in the interagency’s success and called PEPFAR the intersection “where science and implementation combine for critical impact.”
As Secretary Clinton said in her speech on “Creating an AIDS-Free Generation” in November, also at the NIH, the knowledge and technologies we have today have given us the “route we need to take” in the fight against AIDS. Amb. Goosby ended his speech on a similar optimistic note by quoting Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”