Remarks by U.S. Charge D ’affairs, Mr. David J. Young Photo Exhibition to Launch PEPFAR’s 15th Anniversary Celebration

All protocols observed.

  • Good afternoon. I would like to thank you for joining us at this Photo Exhibition.
  • The exhibition affords us an occasion to reflect on an initiative, which began 15 years ago. Called the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR, this initiative has helped to expand and sustain life-saving treatment, comprehensive prevention programs and care for those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS in nations around the world, including Nigeria.
  • Through this initiative, the U.S. Government began its partnership with Nigeria to fight against HIV and AIDS. In support of this partnership, the U.S. Government has provided about 5.1 billion U.S. dollars for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care programs, and to build the capacity of the Nigerian health system.
  • Before PEPFAR, HIV infection was a death sentence in Nigeria and many other African countries.  As one of the first countries to begin a national treatment program, Nigeria placed about 15,000 men, women and children on anti-retroviral therapy.
  • Many of our colleagues wondered whether prevention or treatment could ever succeed in environments where resources, assistance, and care were limited, and where having HIV was considered a death sentence.
  • Working together with the Nigerian government and people, significant progress has been achieved.
  • Measures of our progress include the over 779,000 men, women and children currently on HIV treatment, thanks to PEPFAR. In Financial Year 2017 alone: approximately 7.7 million people received HIV counseling and testing services; more  than 1.6 million pregnant women received HIV testing and counseling toward prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and more than 1.1 million orphans and vulnerable children received care and support.
  • Equally important, PEPFAR supports Nigeria in the critical areas of human capacity development and strengthening health systems.
  • The lives we have touched and the people we have saved offer a resounding testimony to PEPFAR’s success in Nigeria and our partnership with Nigeria, the government, and its people.
  • Today, and worth celebrating, Nigeria has surpassed the 1 million HIV treatment milestones with PEPFAR supporting more than 75 percent of the men, women and children currently on treatment.
  • It has been worth the effort when we think of the individual lives touched by the program that this photo exhibition features. For every person seen here, there are several million Nigerian men, women and children who have similar stories of hope, thanks to PEPFAR.
  • In 2003, then U.S. President, George W. Bush led the world into action when he announced the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (“PEPFAR”) – an initial five-year, $15 billion multifaceted approach to combating HIV/AIDS globally.  Thanks to our partnership with the peoples of many nations, the American people have kept this commitment over the past 15 years, through the administration of former President Barak Obama and now, President Donald Trump.  At the last count, our global commitment stands at $72.7 billion U.S. dollars, combatting what has been described as the worst human scourge in history.
  • This photo exhibition seeks to highlight successes in the PEPFAR Nigeria story and will kick-off a 6-month long program to celebrate PEPFAR’s 15th anniversary. Other activities include a monthly  virtual program within select American Spaces across Nigeria as well as social media engagements.
  • We will round up activities to commemorate PEPFAR’s 15th anniversary with an awards ceremony on World AIDS Day (December 1) 2018, where U.S. Ambassador, The Honorable W. Stuart Ambassador Symington will recognize and honor identified heroes of the HIV/AIDS mitigation efforts in Nigeria. 
  • At this point, I must thank the Jabi Lake Mall administration for partnering with us on this photo exhibition and providing the free use of their facilities. We very much appreciate your collaboration. 
  • In closing, I would like to reiterate the U.S. Government’s commitment to continue our collaboration with the Nigerian Government and people in combating HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.
  • By pushing ahead together, we can control an epidemic for which there is no vaccine or cure. We are closer than we have ever been before!
  • Thank you. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I now declare the exhibition open.