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Institute of Human Virology (IHV) Recognizes Ten Years of PEPFAR

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dr. Robert C. Gallo
 Dr. Robert C. Gallo

Today marks ten years since the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a $48 billion initiative launched by former President George W. Bush and continued by President Barack Obama.  Through unique partnerships, including those between academia and foreign governments, PEPFAR has managed to put the first real dent in the global AIDS response.  The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has actively participated and led PEPFAR-funded programs to help developing nations learn how to diagnose, treat, and prevent their own AIDS epidemics.

IHV Director Dr. Robert C. Gallo, who pioneered the field of human retroviruses with his discoveries of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, co-discovered HIV as the cause of AIDS, and developed the HIV blood test that has saved many hundreds of thousands of lives, said “Through their work in seven African and two Caribbean nations, my colleagues Robert Redfield and William Blattner have shown us that PEPFAR works.  While we take the time to recognize ten years since PEPFAR, I encourage the Administration to consider implementing PEPFAR for hardest hit regions in the U.S.  We should continue honoring our commitment overseas while tackling the problem here at home.”

Through PEPFAR, IHV has treated nearly 750,000 patients with antiretroviral medications and close to 4 million people have received prevention interventions and HIV testing.  Additionally, IHV has trained 35,000 in-country health care professionals who have delivered more than 100 million doses of medication.

IHV Associate Director Dr. William Blattner and his IHV colleagues in the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention established the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN), a not-for-profit corporation as the mechanism that allowed $294 million in PEPFAR grant funding over the last nine years.  The impact of IHVN is best measured in the clinical care, treatment, and prevention services to 944,004 Nigerians who were counseled and tested for HIV; 896,555 mothers who were screened to prevent infections of their babies; 139,857 patients who received antiretroviral therapy; and 32,749 health care workers who were trained.

“PEPFAR has been an extremely successful public health program - driving down new infections rates in Sub-Saharan Africa by 25% and building capacity in these countries to manage their individual epidemics,” said Dr. William Blattner.   “I am very proud of the role our Institute has made in translating our basic science, clinical and epidemiologic work into public health practices to save so many lives.”

IHV's Division of Clinical Care and Research, under the leadership of IHV Associate Director Dr. Robert Redfield, has provided emergency response training, treatment, and infrastructure in Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.  These teams are committed to making a sustainable impact on current global health priorities; providing anti-retroviral therapy to more than 400,000 people; providing healthcare to more than 700,000 individuals; and, making a significant overall contribution to the PEPFAR program. 

“PEPFAR is the largest public health program in global history,” said Dr. Robert Redfield.  “The IHV Clinical Division supports more than 250 sites in 10 countries.  In each of these locations, we have strong programs providing training, care and treatment."

About the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Formed in 1996 as a partnership between the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the University System of Maryland and the University of Maryland Medical System, IHV is an institute of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is home to some of the most globally-recognized and world-renowned experts in all of virology. The IHV is the first center in the United States to combine the disciplines of basic research, epidemiology and clinical research in a concerted effort to speed the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide variety of chronic and deadly viral and immune disorders - most notably the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

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