April 10 is National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD). Today offers an opportunity to learn about the impact of HIV on children and young people. 

For instance, many people do not know about the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, one of the most effective global health programs in history. PEPFAR, as it’s called, has done more for vulnerable children impacted by HIV/AIDS than any other global health program.

PEPFAR has supported 7.2 million orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and their caregivers by providing health care, nutrition, schooling, economic support, and other services. In addition to its ground-breaking “whole child” programs for OVC, PEPFAR has ensured that 5.5 million babies have been born HIV-free and has saved the lives of more than 25 million men, women, and children.

Despite 21 years of providing hope and inspiration to millions around the globe and enjoying bipartisan support at the highest levels of government, from faith leaders, and from all ends of the political spectrum, PEPFAR expired September 30, 2023. Lawmakers offered the program life-support in the Fiscal Year 2024 funding package with a one-year extension

On this National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, First Focus Campaign for Children calls on Congress to pass a clean five-year reauthorization of PEPFAR. With 13.9 million orphans and countless additional vulnerable children worldwide, there is no time to waste.

#StopHIVTogether #NYHAAD