USA launches US$100 million HIV program in Ethiopia

APA Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) The United States Government launched on Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia a five-year US$100 million program to carry out a “comprehensive and sustainable” program for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and their families mainly affected by HIV and AIDS, APA learns here.

APA learnt during the launching that with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will officially partner with Pact and UNICEF to implement the program, along with 50 indigenous implementing partners working on the fight against HIV/AIDS.

USAID Mission Director to Ethiopia, Thomas Staal, said that the program is expected to benefit more than 500,000 OVCs throughout Ethiopia annually over the coming five years.usaid

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“The plan will implement comprehensive and suitable programming for OVCs. The plan will also provide care for the families of OVCs, most of whom have been affected by HIV and AIDS,” said Staal.

The first case of AIDS was reported in Ethiopia in 1984.

In 2005, PEPFAR supported the Ethiopian government’s decision to make services for HIV and AIDS widely and freely available to its people.

According to available information from the USAID Ethiopian bureau, the country has received at least US$1.3 billion in PEPFAR funding, making it one of the Plan’s largest recipient.

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Currently, around two million people are estimated to live with HIV/AIDS in the country out of around 80 million inhabitants.

Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is available in 394 out of 550 health centres while more than 88,000 people in the targeted regions are currently receiving ART in these centres.

Last year alone, 3.5 million people were tested for HIV. More than 225,000 HIV-positive Ethiopians receive ART through PEPFAR-supported programs, according to the USAID Ethiopia.

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