Conversation on with Dr. Tom Kenyon, PEPFAR


October 15, 2007

Ira Dreyfuss: Welcome to Conversations on Each month on we have conversations with government officials about HIV/AIDS issues. Today we'll be speaking with Dr. Tom Kenyon from PEPFAR. Dr. Kenyon, welcome and thank you for joining us today.

Dr. Kenyon: Well, thank you for the opportunity to talk about the global epidemic.

Ira Dreyfus: What is PEPFAR?

Dr. Kenyon: PEPFAR stands for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. It's a global initiative, as I think most are aware, there's an estimated forty million people living with HIV around the world. Two thirds of those are in Africa. PEPFAR is about bringing needed prevention, care, and treatment services to those in need.

Ira Dreyfus: What is your role at PEPFAR?

Dr. Kenyon: I serve as the Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator and Chief Medical Officer for PEPFAR. My role is to ensure that countries get the resources and support that they need, both financial and technical.

Ira Dreyfus: Would you please give us an example of how PEPFAR meets the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS?

Dr. Kenyon: People living with HIV have, of course, a diverse range of needs from psychosocial support, material support, to basic care, comprehensive care and treatment. What we try to do is make sure that countries are having the capacity to provide a comprehensive program including anti-retroviral therapy. I think also, we are very much interested in supporting prevention programs, so that we prevent people from living with HIV/AIDS in the first place. So we have a range of programs depending on the local epidemic that we work with host countries to develop.

Ira Dreyfus: What actions would you like to see public health officials take or continue to take to address the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States?

Dr. Kenyon: I think the more we can learn from the domestic epidemic that helps us to do a better job overseas. Likewise I think there are lessons to be learned from the global epidemic that we can apply to our epidemic here in the United States such as better use of the information describing what are the factors driving the epidemic in a particular locality, bringing counseling and testing services to those in need so we can identify those who are living with the virus earlier than we have been and also helping people to understand their own individual risk. I think there's a lot that we can learn from one another and I hope that we can move forward and continue to have that dialog.

Ira Dreyfus: Thank you for speaking with us today about the important work PEPFAR is doing to help meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Please visit to view the transcript of this podcast. For more information on PEPFAR go to This podcast was created in partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services Department of HIV/AIDS Policy, the managing entity of

To learn more about PEPFAR and other global program resources, please visit's Global Programs page >>

Last revised: 05/15/2008