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U.S. AIDS-Relief Plan a Success, Report Finds

THURSDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Millions of lives worldwide have been improved and saved through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, an Institute of Medicine report says.

The plan's success shows that HIV/AIDS services can be effectively delivered on a large scale even in countries that have high rates of HIV/AIDS and limited resources, according to the congressionally mandated evaluation.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) plan was established in 2003 and has supported HIV/AIDS programs in more than 100 countries. This new report is based on visits to 13 partner countries and a review of program documentation and data.

"During our visits to partner countries, we repeatedly heard PEPFAR described as a lifeline," report committee chair Robert Black, chair of the department of international health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in an Institute of Medicine (IOM) news release. "People credit the initiative with restoring hope. As it moves forward, PEPFAR must continue to be bold in its vision, implementation, and global leadership."

Working with a number of international and local partners, PEPFAR has helped expand HIV testing, increased the number of HIV patients who receive care and treatment with antiretroviral drugs, and expanded services to prevent HIV transmission from mothers to their children, the report said.

The program has trained hundreds of thousands of health service providers, strengthened partner countries' health care systems, and supported programs for orphans and other children living with or affected by HIV, the AIDS-causing virus.

In the future, PEPFAR must boost efforts to help partner countries develop the capacity to manage their own HIV/AIDS programs, maintain the gains they have made in controlling the disease, and improve citizens' access to services, the report said.

The IOM is a non-profit, non-governmental agency charged with providing unbiased advice to the public and policy makers.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Institute of Medicine, news release, Feb. 20, 2103

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