October 11, 2019 – PEPFAR—the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief—has saved millions of lives and prevented millions of HIV infections since its launch in 2003 by President George W. Bush. To mark 15+ years of the program, the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) hosted a daylong symposium on October 7, 2019 at Harvard Law School that explored PEPFAR’s history and showcased the ways it has transformed the worldwide HIV/AIDS response as well as global health delivery more broadly.
The symposium’s several panels focused on the birth of PEPFAR, lessons learned over the course of the program’s history, local ownership of programs, and future directions. Speakers included Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), who described working with Bush to create and launch the program; three of the four PEPFAR directors, including Ambassador-at-Large Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, who currently oversees the program; and HIV/AIDS experts from Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, and Tanzania.
Harvard Chan School speakers included Phyllis Kanki, Mary Woodward Lasker Professor of Health Sciences, who discussed the School’s PEPFAR work in Botswana, Nigeria, and Tanzania; and Shahin Lockman, associate professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases and associate director of the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research.