U.S. Government Donates HIV/AIDS Antiretroviral Medication to Gabonese Ministry of Health

Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Ellen Thorburn

Honorable Minister of Health and Social Affairs,

Dear WHO Resident Representative,

Distinguished guests in your ranks, grades, and qualities,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to take part, this morning, in this official ceremony to hand over a United States Government donation of antiretroviral drugs in support of the HIV response in Gabon.

Before going any further, I would like to salute the significant progress made in recent years by Gabon in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Indeed, access to screening and antiretroviral (ARV) treatment has been free since 2005 and this access has been modernized with the widespread use of dolutegravir. The care of people living with HIV has improved with the adoption of the “test and treat” policy, the decentralization of care services, and the total care of HIV-positive pregnant women. Finally, Gabonese legislation has decriminalized homosexuality to promote access for these vulnerable populations to prevention and care services.

The delivery of this large batch of antiretroviral drugs, acquired under our Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, a program that works directly with the Gabonese Military Health Service, is complementary to these initiatives. This donation aims to meet the antiretroviral needs of 27,000 people living with HIV, on antiretroviral treatment, for a period of one year.

Honorable Minister,

Through this gesture, the United States of America aims to support the country’s capacity building in offering effective and sustainable health care in the response to HIV.

By donating these critical medications, the United States Embassy has no doubt of the good use that health personnel will make of them and of the added value that these drugs will bring in improving the quality of service offer as well as their access to the most affected populations and the most vulnerable layers.

I also take this opportunity to commend the continued efforts of all national actors and international partners in the national response to HIV. We remain confident that the country will continue to make progress in this area.

HIV remains a serious threat to global health security and economic development, and I would like to conclude by reiterating the commitment of the United States of America to work alongside Gabon in its fight against the HIV pandemic.

Thank you.