- General

USAID Launches New Program to Combat HIV/AIDS in Laos

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a new three-year HIV/AIDS programme, “Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control” or EpiC on Mar 12 in Vientiane.

Vice-Minister of Health Phouthone Meuangpak and U.S. Ambassador to Laos Peter M. Haymond witnessed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony for the EpiC project.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Phouthone Southalack, Director of the Centre for HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (CHAS), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ms. Phayvieng Philakone, Associate Director of Family Health International 360 (FHI 360). More than 50 representatives from the government of Laos and development partners attended.

“This year, we are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-Lao Comprehensive Partnership, and health cooperation is a central part of our work in Laos. The United States is proud to partner with the Lao PDR to improve the health and well-being of the people of Laos and support the global goal of HIV/AIDS elimination,” said Ambassador Haymond. “The United States is committed to helping the Lao PDR become stronger and healthier in the years ahead.”

Funding for this programme is part of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programme. In Laos, the USAID EpiC project will support CHAS and the MOH to reduce HIV prevalence among vulnerable populations in Vientiane, Savannakhet and Champassak.

The project will focus on scaling up HIV prevention, testing and case finding, identifying linkages to treatment, and building long-term sustainability to attain and maintain control over the epidemic.

Since the creation of the PEPFAR programme in 2003, the United States has invested more than US$85 billion on the global HIV/AIDS response through PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The United States and the Lao PDR are celebrating the 5th year of the Comprehensive Partnership in 2021. The United States partners closely with the Lao PDR on a wide range of issues, including health, nutrition, education, economic development, rule of law, and fighting transnational crime.

Source: Lao News Agency