The world has the momentum and the tools it needs to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. In particular, America’s leadership in the global response to the AIDS epidemic has been unparalleled — measured not only in dollars but in lives saved.
But for the first time in 15 years, the U.S. government is showing signs of retreat from this fight. By proposing massive cuts to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and by creating a new strategy that would limit the response, the Trump administration looks ready to trade the iconic red ribbon for a white flag of surrender in the global fight against AIDS.
Here are six reasons why we can’t let that happen:
1. Our current AIDS programs are working really well.
Through PEPFAR, the United States has saved 11 million lives! For the first time ever, more than half of the people living with HIV around the world are receiving life-saving treatment, and the number of people dying from AIDS has been cut by half since its peak in 2005.
2. The efforts of the United States have an influence on other nations.
The leadership shown by the U.S. has caught on around the globe. Early U.S. support for the Global Fund created worldwide momentum that has helped secure commitments from 37 national governments, seven philanthropic organizations, 44 corporations, and millions of individuals who have joined the fight with their own contributions. What’s more, the countries most affected by AIDS are contributing more to the fight than ever before.
3. Progress against the AIDS epidemic is still fragile.
The progress in the fight against AIDS has been incredible — but if we start holding back now, we risk a global resurgence of the epidemic, which is still growing at an alarming pace. In fact, three people are infected with HIV every minute.
4. The White House’s proposed funding cuts would IMMEDIATELY start reducing the number of people on treatment.
According to conservative estimates, if the proposed budget cuts were implemented, it would result in 838,000 fewer people being placed on AIDS treatment in just the first year.
5. The U.S. role in the fight against AIDS is an important legacy.
Leadership in the global fight against AIDS is definitely one of the U.S.’s most visible and important global legacies in the past 20 years. This success is thanks to bold leadership from Republican and Democratic presidents alike, as well as bipartisan support from Congress, without which such an impact wouldn’t have been possible.
6. If the U.S. gives up now, the years of effort and billions of dollars will go to waste.
The U.S. fight against AIDS has been an investment in stopping the epidemic. But without the funding to continue treatment and prevention efforts in the hardest-hit countries, the global progress against AIDS will start moving in reverse. According to conservative estimates, if the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts come to pass, we could see the first global increase in new HIV infections since 1995, with nearly 200,000 additional HIV infections in the first year.
We are finally getting ahead of this deadly disease… but if President Trump’s proposed budget comes to pass, the progress in the fight against AIDS may start to unravel.
Want to learn more? Read the full report.