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Wednesday, 27th November 2019
Left to right: Amb. Deborah Birx, U.S Special Rep.for Global Health; Amb. Edward Sawerengera, Amb of Malawi; Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director/U.S Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (re-known scientist for HIV/AIDS AVR breakthrough); and Dr. Max Bweupe of Zambia.

The Ambassador of Uganda to the United States, Mull Katende,on Monday November 25th 2019 joined a World AIDS Day panel organized by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to contribute to a discussion on progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. He was joined by his counterparts in the USA from Malawi and Zambia. The event which was sponsored by the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU),Chevron, GILEAD and MERCK, took place at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C.

The theme of the US World AIDS Day 2019 panel discussion is "Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community". Amb. Katende shared Uganda's experience on Prevention, Care& Treatment as well as Social Support & Protection. Amb. Katende tackled questions regarding  progress Uganda has made in recent years towards controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic describing key factors that have made this possible. He informed the audience about the positive role played by the political leadership of Uganda in responding to the epidemic with honesty and resoluteness.

Amb. Katende informed the audience that The Number of people living with HIV, initiated on Antiretroviral therapy in Uganda, has progressively increased each year, from only about 17,000 persons in 2003 to about 1,200,000 persons by June 2019. This has in turn resulted in progressive drop HIV related mortality from as high as 56,000 in 2010 to 23,000 in 2018

He shed light on the role played by the private sector and civil society in expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services for population most in need of them and in partnership with the Government of Uganda.

Expressing gratitude to the Government of the United States, Amb Katende informed the audience that Uganda is supported up to 90% by two main streams of Funding: 1) PEPFAR/U.S.Government and 2) the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria(GFATM). He explained that a significant proportion of these resources is channelled through civil society partners. 8.57% of the total Global fund(GFATM) grant is channelled through indigenous civil society organizations, and more than 50% of all PEPFAR funding is channelled to civil society - including local indigenous partners as well as some international partners. 

Asked about the progress Uganda is making in achieving the90-90-90 strategy , he said "Uganda is now at 86-86-88 and set to achieve the benchmark by 2020 as envisioned"

Ambassador-at-Large Deborah Birx, who is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and the U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy moderated the panel "Through PEPFAR, the United States Government has invested more than $85 billion in the global HIV response since 2003, the largest commitment ever made by any nation to address a single disease" she said. 

She, however, pointed out that, to the extent that individuals are being treated, PEPFAR has been very much focused on prevention, because of growing concerns about the rate of new infections particularly in young people.

PEPFAR is a US bipartisan program, that has been implemented through three presidents and nine congresses, with unrelenting support.