PSI Ambassador Debra Messing Testifies Before House Foreign Relations Committee

Friday, March 12, 2010 General News J E 4

Calls for Increased Funding for HIV Prevention and Treatment in Developing Countries

WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Actress and PSI Ambassador Debra Messing testified today before the House Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, highlighting successes from U.S. investments in HIV/AIDS while urging members to consider more funding for HIV prevention and treatment in developing countries.   Messing – a long-time AIDS activist in the United States – recently returned from a visit to Zimbabwe with PSI, a leading global health organization with programs in HIV/AIDS, malaria, reproductive health and child survival in more than 65 countries across the world.

"Three months ago I traveled to Zimbabwe with my colleagues from PSI and with staff from UNAIDS to learn more about the HIV pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa," said Messing.  "What I saw in Zimbabwe was that the investment and strong support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and other donors, as well as the Zimbabwean government, is paying off in dramatic ways."

In Zimbabwe, HIV prevalence has declined by 15 percent in the past 10 years.  Yet worldwide roughly 7,400 people become infected with HIV every single day, according to UNAIDS.  For every two people given access to treatment, there are five people newly infected by the disease.   Messing, who became involved in fighting the disease after her acting teacher died of AIDS-related complications in 1993, drew particular attention to HIV counseling and testing and voluntary male circumcision as two HIV-prevention tools that are making a difference.

Cited by both the World Health Organization and UNAIDS as an "important intervention," male circumcision can reduce HIV infections among men by 60 percent.  Messing expressed gratitude for the robust support the U.S. government currently provides for male circumcision initiatives, while encouraging greater support for overall HIV prevention and treatment programs in an effort to yield greater results.

Concluding her remarks, Messing said: "I urge your ongoing robust support for PEPFAR and the Global Fund so that we can halt the spread of HIV and comprehensively expand access to HIV prevention, care and treatment."

To view Messing's full testimony, visit

About PSI:

PSI is a leading global health organization with programs targeting malaria, child survival, HIV and reproductive health. Working in partnership within the public and private sectors, and harnessing the power of markets, PSI provides life-saving products, clinical services and behavior change communications that empower the world's most vulnerable populations to lead healthier lives.

SOURCE Population Services International



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