January 28, 2023, marks the 20-year anniversary of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has helped save more than 25 million lives globally. Over the past 15 years in South Sudan, the PEPFAR program has enabled nearly 48,000 South Sudanese living with HIV to access lifelong, life-saving antiretroviral treatment. PEPFAR has also played a critical role in building South Sudan’s health system over the past two decades, particularly the District Health Information, HIV Surveillance, and National Laboratory systems. The PEPFAR program in South Sudan offers an opportunity to accelerate progress toward meeting the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity’s HIV eradication goals in a complex environment challenged by prolonged conflict, floods, and food insecurity. PEPFAR’s successes in South Sudan can be attributed to innovative implementation of HIV prevention, care, and treatment services in the highest-prevalence areas of South Sudan, including Western Equatoria, Central Equatoria, Western Bahr al Ghazal, and Lakes States.
As we mark PEPFAR’s 20th anniversary globally, our work in South Sudan is a prime example of how the United States is committed to helping countries with the most acute needs to reach HIV epidemic control. We will continue to partner closely with those in South Sudan who seek to save lives from HIV, investing in sustainable health systems that promote health equity and contribute to the global health security agenda.