Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon® is an innovative partnership to leverage public and private investments in global health to combat cervical and breast cancer – two of the leading causes of cancer death in women - in developing nations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Led by the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will expand the availability of vital cervical cancer screening and treatment—especially for high-risk HIV-positive women – and also promote breast cancer education. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is an important initiative for PEPFAR since HIV- positive women are 4-5 times more likely to develop cervical cancer than women who are HIV-negative.
The partnership will leverage the platform and resources of PEPFAR — established under President Bush and a cornerstone of President Obama’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) — and will draw from lessons learned in the significant scale-up of HIV services in recent years.
With initial commitments of $85 million across five years, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will expand to achieve the following goals:
Why cervical and breast cancer and why now?
There is an urgent need to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to address women’s cancers in developing nations where these diseases are often neglected and associated with stigma that discourages women from accessing life-saving services. Building on HIV platforms, infrastructure and resources, with the support of PEPFAR and country partners, we can integrate simple, cost-effective prevention, screening and treatment for cervical cancer, with the goal of significantly reducing cervical cancer deaths among women screened and treated. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will also work to expand access to breast cancer education, and promote advocacy and increase awareness of breast cancer. As breast cancer has not been linked to HIV, it does not fall within PEPFAR’s mandate and PEPFAR funds will not be used for direct support of breast cancer activities. However, other PRRR partners will leverage the PEPFAR platforms, using other sources of funding, to support breast cancer efforts.
What is the relationship between HIV and cervical cancer?
Infection with HIV weakens the immune system and reduces the body’s ability to fight infections that may lead to cancer. Cervical cancer is 4-5 times more common among women living with HIV than women who are HIV-negative.
Integrating HIV and cervical cancer screening and treatment services is an effective and efficient method of responding to the diseases. Many of the same techniques and entry points that are mobilized for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support can be successfully combined to screen and treat cervical cancer.
How will the initiative be implemented?
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will work with national governments to support their planning, policy development, and program implementation related to breast and cervical cancer. There is a key need for partners from all sectors, public and private, to address this critical initial step.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will scale up over time as countries develop plans and additional partners join to support them. The program will aim to increase awareness of cervical and breast cancer and prevention and treatment modalities, reduce stigma, mobilize communities, expand access to HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, diagnosis, care and treatment of cervical cancer and breast cancer. Zambia was launched as the first official Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon country in December 2012 and has since been joined by Botswana and Tanzania.
To assure program implementation, scale-up and sustainability, it will be critical to have committed leadership and investment from participating countries, including key support from communities, civil society, and affected individuals.
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