The Obama administration announced that $300 million will be added to the ongoing public health campaign to treat the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in teenage girls living in 10 sub-Saharan countries in Africa.
The additional $300 million budget supports the Obama administration's main program of fighting the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Africa. Distributing antiretroviral drugs, commonly known as ARV, to almost 13 million people in Africa by the end of 2017 is one of the program's main objectives.
"No greater action is needed right now than empowering adolescent girls and young women to defeat HIV/AIDS," said Susan Rice, national security adviser. "Every year, 380,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV."
Rice added that the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is currently providing ARV to over 7.7 million HIV patients around the world in collaboration with other countries.
PEPFAR was formed in 2003 under the Bush administration. The program aims to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS through public health programs.
Another PEPFAR program includes circumcisions for over 13 million males in Africa by the end of 2017 to help reduce HIV among adolescents. PEPFAR also aims to decrease the rising number of reported HIV cases by 25 percent among teenage girls and young women living in most affected areas in the 10 sub-Saharan countries in Africa by the end of 2016, and by 40 percent by the end of 2017. The 10 countries in the lineup are Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi and Kenya.
PEPFAR is hailed as one of the most significant and leading public health programs ever put together. With roughly 1,000 adolescent girls and young women affected with HIV every day, the Obama administration is stepping up its plans to help stop the spread of the deadly virus. In 2010, only 50,000 HIV patients in Africa were treated with the ARV drug. With PEPFAR expanding to 10 other countries, the administration continues to develop the project to help treat millions of people afflicted with HIV.