New PEPFAR data shows the importance of AIDS funding

WASHINGTON — Ahead of World AIDS Day tomorrow, The ONE Campaign applauded new data from The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that further illustrates the importance of fully funding the United States’ signature AIDS program, which has saved over 11 million lives. New data reveals that PEPFAR has supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 13.3 million people.

But the progress made against the AIDS epidemic is as fragile as it is profound. Moving forward, these gains will not be possible unless the United States continues to lead the way. After 15 years of strong, bipartisan American leadership and incredible progress in the global fight against AIDS, the Trump Administration appears ready to trade the iconic red ribbon for a white flag of surrender.

This week, The ONE Campaign issued a new report detailing the impacts of the White House’s proposed budget cut of $800 million to bilateral HIV/AIDS efforts – including PEPFAR – and $225 million to the Global Fund, which would require a new strategy that would stop adding people to treatment in the hardest-hit countries and trigger a resurgence of the epidemic.

Tom Hart, North American Executive Director, The ONE Campaign

“These new results from PEPFAR are a testament to the ingenuity, commitment and generosity of the American people and the remarkable work that PEPFAR – and its dedicated staff – do to bring hope to the most desolate places. Today also underscores the importance of ensuring PEPFAR has the financial resources it needs to win the fight and to help the world reach its impending global targets of getting 30 million people on treatment and fewer than 500,000 new infections annually by 2020.

“As we celebrate how far we have come in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, we remain concerned by the Trump Administration’s proposed budget, which has the potential to squander gains and impede future progress. To ensure that the Administration does not unilaterally trade the iconic red ribbon for a white flag of surrender, Congress must continue to restore funding for HIV/AIDS efforts, like PEPFAR, that save millions of lives.”

Yesterday, over 35 of the nation’s leading AIDS and global health advocacy organizations sent a letter to Congress warning them that America’s commitment to ending AIDS appears to be waning and calling on Congress to continue the United States’ leadership in response to this epidemic.

“We are writing to sound the alarm,” the letter reads. “We have profound concern about the direction the Executive Branch appears to be taking the global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Administration’s FY 2018 budget proposal and the State Department’s new strategy for PEPFAR have caused us to doubt the White House’s commitment to fighting the epidemic. It is critical that Congress continues to fund PEPFAR and the Global Fund to — at least — the level at which it operated in 2017. It is critical that Congress insists that the Administration fulfills the U.S. commitment to the Global Fund, and that funding for both programs does not come at the expensive of other effective humanitarian and development assistance, which work together to serve the common goal to building a healthier, safer, more prosperous world. And PEPFAR must be allowed to pursue a strategy ambitious enough to help the world get 30 million people on treatment and to reduce the number of new infections per year to 500,000 by 2020.”

The full letter is available here.

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