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CRS — The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR): Funding Issues After a Decade of Implementatio n, FY2004-FY2013

November 19, 2012

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR): Funding Issues After a Decade of Implementation, FY2004-FY2013
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest bilateral health initiative in the world. The 2003 pledge of President George W. Bush to spend $15 billion over five years on fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria was considered groundbreaking. The initiative challenged the international community to reject claims that large-scale HIV/AIDS treatment plans could not be carried out in low-resource settings. In December 2002, one month before PEPFAR was announced, only 50,000 people of the estimated 4 million requiring antiretroviral (ARV) medicines in sub-Saharan Africa were receiving treatment. By the end of FY2004, 155,000 people were receiving treatment through PEPFAR.

As of March 2012, PEPFAR has supported

  • the provision of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for more than 4.5 million people (up from 155,000 in 2005);
  • testing and counseling for more than 40 million people, including 9.8 million pregnant women;
  • prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) services for more than 660,000 HIV-positive pregnant women, curbing some 200,000 HIV infections among infants; and
  • care and support for more than 13 million people, including more than 4 million orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).

Congress first authorized funds in support of PEPFAR in 2003 through P.L. 108-25, the U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act (Leadership Act). The $15 billion authorization was to be spent on global HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria programs from FY2004 through FY2008. Strong bipartisan support for PEPFAR in particular and global health in general led to annual appropriations amounts that exceeded authorized levels. During the first phase of PEPFAR (FY2004-FY2008), the Bush Administration spent $18.1 billion on global HIV/AIDS programs.

As the expiration date of the Leadership Act approached, congressional support for PEPFAR remained enthusiastic. Members debated a range of issues (see CRS Report RL34569, PEPFAR Reauthorization: Key Policy Debates and Changes to U.S. International HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Programs and Funding), but ultimately authorized an extension of PEPFAR. The Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-293, Lantos-Hyde Act) authorized $48 billion to be appropriated from FY2009 through FY2013 for combating the three diseases. From FY2009 through FY2012, the Obama Administration obligated nearly $26 billion on global HIV/AIDS programs.

As the September 30, 2013, expiration date for the authorization of the Lantos-Hyde Act approaches, it is unclear whether Congress will again authorize multiyear funding for PEPFAR. Bipartisan support for PEPFAR remains strong; nonetheless, congressional debate about key elements of the program has raised some concerns. For example, some Members question the extent to which family planning programs are integrated into global HIV/AIDS activities. At the same time, growing unease about the federal budget deficit minimizes the likelihood that past trends of ever-increasing appropriations for global HIV/AIDS programs will be sustained.

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