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Unprecedented AIDS initiative marks 10th anniversary

AIDS intiative
Posted at 7:31 PM, May 27, 2013
and last updated 2015-03-11 14:55:12-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — Today marks 10 years since the U.S. launched the largest initiative of its kind to fight AIDS.

It's called "PEPFAR," the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which was passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush.

Michael Gerson, a PEPFAR advocate in the Bush administration who now advises the ONE campaign against AIDS, calls it "the largest initiative to fight a single disease in human history."

He says when PEPFAR started only about 50,000 people in all of sub-Saharan Africa were getting AIDS treatment. Today there are seven million. Gerson says the initiative made "some of the fastest, most dramatic gains in the history of public health."

The ultimate goal is an AIDS-free generation. Gerson says, "we know many of the methods that are necessary now to make that happen." But he says the question is whether the commitment will be strong enough and long enough to apply those methods.