It’s up to Congress to protect millions of people living with HIV around the world

In 2003 I travelled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for the first time. Like most of the continent, Tanzania was staggering under the burden of a burgeoning AIDS epidemic. AIDS was still a death sentence.

I met women with HIV whose babies were born with HIV, even though drugs existed that could prevent this. Coffin makers dominated the markets and lined the streets. Virtually no one was receiving the life-saving antiretroviral drugs that had already transformed the AIDS crisis in the United States.

But a major change was looming. Earlier that year, the Republican-controlled House and Senate passed a bill authorizing funding to two critical new initiatives — the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR (an initiative proposed by President George W. Bush), and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

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