Catholic Relief Services is joining the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in calling for an extension of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – PEPFAR – the program that has saved the lives of millions afflicted with HIV over the past decade.
“From its inception, PEPFAR has enjoyed broad bi-partisan support,” wrote Carolyn Y. Woo, president of CRS and Bishop Richard E. Pates, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace. “This political consensus must continue in order to preserve PEPFAR’s inclusive and multi-sectoral approach, which has given hope to so many people suffering from this deadly disease.”
The letter was sent to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs which are considering the PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act of2013.
“We appreciate your leadership and bipartisanship in drafting this important legislation to reiterate and continue our nation’s commitment to combating HIV/AIDS worldwide,” the letter states.
CRS worked in a PEPFAR-funded consortium known as AIDSRelief to reach over 700,000 people affected by HIV and AIDS – including over 400,000 receiving life-saving antiretroviral treatment — in ten countries around the world. In nine of those, the program has been transferred to local partners.
The letter points out the leading role of the Catholic Church is providing “care, treatment and support” during this pandemic.
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Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in nearly 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org.