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Today, when we hear the word pandemic, most people think of COVID-19. But by 2003, while rates of HIV infections and deaths from AIDS had stabilized and fallen in the US, in sub-Saharan Africa, the rates were at epidemic proportions.
In his State of the Union address that January, President George W. Bush announced a massive investment in the global fight against HIV –The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.
In the twenty years since, the program has dedicated billions of dollars to HIV prevention and treatment across Africa and other regions, saving tens of millions of lives.
NPR’s Pien Huang speaks with Ambassador Dr. John Nkengasong, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and Dr. Helene Gayle, an epidemiologist, and president of Spelman College who spent 20 years at the CDC focused on HIV treatment and prevention and global healthcare.
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This episode was produced by Marc Rivers. It was edited by Jeanette Woods. Our executive producer is Adam Raney.