Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Overview

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 13, 2011

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.

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 $75 million across five years, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will expand to achieve the following goals:

  • Reduce deaths from cervical cancer by an estimated 25% among women screened and treated through the initiative;
  • Significantly increase access to breast and cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment; and
  • Create innovative models that can be scaled up and used globally.


The founding partners are making the following commitments to support national and local leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America to catalyze a dynamic, lifesaving collaboration:

Organizing Members

  • The George W. Bush Institute: Provide overall coordination of the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative, including designing a comprehensive accountability framework, creating plans together with each participating country, evaluating results within communities, and working with all partners to ensure successful attainment of shared goals
  • Office of the U.S. Global Aids Coordinator, through the agencies of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR): New funding to increase capacity of cervical cancer screening and treatment in PEPFAR-supported clinics in Africa.
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure: Ensure high-level commitment in project countries, raise the profile of women’s cancer in the global arena, and provide grass-roots training to educate women about breast and cervical cancer and empower them to seek and demand screening, treatment, and vaccination
  • Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS): Provide high-level advocacy and communication strategies linking HIV response to cervical and breast cancer and provide technical expertise, especially related to the integration of HIV screening and treatment with that of cervical and breast cancers

Founding Corporate Members

  • Merck: Provide donated vaccine and support for grassroots cervical cancer awareness
  • Becton Dickinson: Provide cervical cancer screening tests, equipment, and training for country-based health care workers on occupational safety and key clinical and laboratory procedures—all vital components of healthcare capacity building and sustainability
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation: Build upon its flagship corporate philanthropy program, Secure the Future, to incorporate cervical and breast cancer training into community-based treatment support programs
  • QIAGEN: Contribute test kits, training, and support services to improve access to high quality diagnostic care to prevent cervical cancer, based on an advanced test for HPV DNA and an HPV DNA test specifically developed for low resource settings
  • Caris Foundation: Provide pathology training and support, tumor profiling, and other innovative technologies based on the sophisticated diagnostic, prognostic and theranostic services that make the organization an academic medical institution with the innovative spirit of a technology company
  • GlaxoSmithKline: Provide vaccines that prevent infection with HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer, as part of an overall corporate program to help developing countries where access to life-saving vaccines can help save millions
  • IBM: Provide a scalable and replicable in-country implementation plan for the communications infrastructure required to coordinate, evaluate, and continuously improve the activities of multiple organizations across numerous communities

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

Key Facts

  • Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon® educates about, tests for, diagnoses and treats cervical and breast cancer in African and Latin American countries.
  • Cervical cancer is the most common women’s cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa and is the third most common cancer in women, with 530,000 new cases and 275,000 deaths each year.
  • 80-90% of women in sub-Saharan Africa have never had a pelvic exam.
  • More than 85% of the global burden of cervical cancer occurs in developing countries, yet the World Health Organization estimates fewer than 5 percent of these women have access to screening even once in a lifetime.
  • Cervical cancer is 4 – 5 times more common among women who are HIV-positive .
  • Today, almost 7 million people living with HIV are alive because of access to antiretroviral therapy and new HIV infections have fallen by nearly 20 percent in the last 10 years.
  • Breast cancer is estimated to result in 1.4 million new cases and kill 458,000 women each year globally.

PRN: 2011/1469