Research into the Impact of PEPFAR Funding

On behalf of OSISA, Sonke Gender Justice is conducting research into the impact that PEPFAR funding is having on HIV/AIDS organisations in Southern Africa.


In 2003, US President George Bush signed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

This plan has made significant amounts of funding available to organisations in 15 countries, including a number of countries in Southern Africa. The funding is predominantly available for HIV/AIDS treatment and care, as well as abstinence-only prevention programmes. PEPFAR openly promotes a particular moral agenda, and many NGOs accepting PEPFAR funding are signing agreements that restrict their ability to work with commercial sex workers and prevent work around termination of pregnancy. PEPFAR also strongly supports an “abstinence only” approach to preventing HIV infection, and has required many NGOs receiving grants to include disclaimers around the effectiveness of condoms.

PEPFAR’s approach is highly controversial, and in the United States the Alliance of Open Society Initiatives (AOSI) along with a range of other US-based organisations, is suing the US Government in relation to a specific policy that emanates from PEPFAR:  the prostitution loyalty oath.

OSISA is concerned that requiring organisations to adhere to conditions may infringe on organisations’ rights and may ultimately be harmful to public health. It has thus commissioned this research to gather information about US policy on HIV and AIDS and its impact on Southern African organisations.


Sonke Gender Justice is conducting an informal survey of NGOs and organisations in Southern Africa to gather information on experiences in relation to US policy on HIV and AIDS, particularly in relation to PEPFAR’s influence on activities related to condom use, abstinence and the prostitution loyalty oath.