To the Editor,  You might not know it, but if you’re an American, you’re an AIDS activist! Oregonians are some of the best activists around and we support the fight against HIV/AIDS.

20 years ago, President Bush and a bipartisan group of lawmakers created the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – PEPFAR– to help fight the scourge of HIV/AIDS in Africa. PEPFAR has since helped save 25 million lives. According to analysis from The ONE Campaign, Oregon alone has helped save nearly 200,000 lives, provide antiretroviral treatment to 184,764 people, and ensure 26,311 babies were born HIV-free. Way to go, Oregon!

But far too many people still die of this preventable, treatable disease. Today, 38.4 million people live with HIV/AIDS – that’s 9 TIMES the population of Oregon – and the virus infects someone new every 30 seconds.

Everyone around the world deserves a life of dignity and opportunity. Congress can move us closer to that reality – and a day where everyone, everywhere is safe from HIV/AIDS – by reauthorizing PEPFAR. It’s imperative that Congress reauthorize PEPFAR in 2023 so it can keep up its life-saving work. I encourage Senator Wyden, Senator Merkley, Congresswoman Bonamici, and fellow lawmakers to continue the legacy of PEPFAR’s incredible success and support America’s bipartisan commitment to fight the global AIDS crisis.

Michael Kalkofen, Beaverton