The full version of this post originally appeared on R&E Search for Evidence. Reposted with permission.
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is a remarkable success story built on the effective use of data. The achievements of this landmark initiative have played a central role in getting us to the point where we can finally talk about controlling the HIV epidemic and creating an AIDS-free generation.
Through 2016, US$70 billion has been invested in this unprecedented disease control effort. The accomplishments to date have been extraordinary and unimaginable just a few years ago: In 2016 alone, 74 million people were tested for HIV infection; since the start of PEPFAR, 2 million babies were born HIV-free due to women receiving prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) treatment; 12 million voluntary medical male circumcisions have been performed; and PEPFAR accounted for 12 million of the 18 million people globally receiving life-extending antiretroviral therapy (ART).
How did we get to this point in the global response? PEPFAR, the largest investment ever made by any country to a single disease-control effort, contributed by transitioning from an emergency approach to one driven by real-time use of granular, site-level data to guide programmatic investments to achieve epidemic control. In view of this improved use of data, perhaps the “Emergency” in PEPFAR should now be changed to “Epidemiologic.” After all, epidemiology, the study and analysis of patterns, causes and effects of disease conditions on populations, is the cornerstone of public health.
Read the entire blog here.