The Harvard School of Public Health’s (HSPH) AIDS Treatment Care and Prevention Initiative in Africa will receive first-year funding of $17 million of a five-year $107 million grant as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to help eradicate AIDS/HIV in the world’s hardest-hit regions.
The announcement was made at a State Department press conference Monday (Feb. 23) by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and U.S. Global AIDS coordinator Ambassador Randall Tobias.
The HSPH initiative is led by Phyllis Kanki, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at HSPH and program director of the AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria, which is funded by the Gates Foundation. The PEPFAR grant will be used for the rapid expansion of antiretroviral therapy (ART) prevention programs for HIV-infected people in Nigeria, Botswana, and Tanzania.
“This grant will enable us to build on existing programs where the AIDS pandemic has taken a huge toll, Nigeria, Botswana, and Tanzania,” said Kanki. “Thousands of people are in need of treatment and care. This grant will not only help provide the necessary drugs and care but also allow us to work with our African colleagues in developing the capacity to keep AIDS treatment programs sustained in the long-term future.” She added, “Treatment and care is a critical part of HIV/AIDS prevention; we’re optimistic that this type of large-scale effort will have a real impact on the HIV epidemic that we are now witnessing in Africa.”
HSPH Dean Barry R. Bloom added, “The Harvard School of Public Health has the longest sustained AIDS programs in Africa of any other institution. While we continue our public health efforts in HIV prevention and treatment, the new PEPFAR funds will make it possible for us to take what we have learned to a new scale that begins to meet the urgent needs of thousands of people in these countries.”