Pompeo should reject Tillerson’s disastrous PEPFAR strategy

WASHINGTON — Ahead of Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State, The ONE Campaign released the following statement calling on the nominee to reject former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s PEPFAR strategy that threatens to trigger a resurgence of the epidemic.

Tom Hart, North America executive director at The ONE Campaign:

“The strategy and funding level Rex Tillerson proposed for PEPFAR would have surrendered the global fight against HIV/AIDS and led to 4 million deaths and 26 million new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa over the next 15 years. In his confirmation hearing tomorrow, Mike Pompeo should reject that proposal and commit to fully empowering PEPFAR to again expand access to life-saving treatment everywhere it operates, consistent with congressional support.

“Next month will mark the 15th anniversary since President George W. Bush launched the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Today, more than half of the people living with HIV globally are receiving life-saving treatment. Our remarkable progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS is a testament to the ingenuity, commitment, and generosity of the American people and the exceptional work that PEPFAR — and its dedicated staff — do to bring hope to people fighting one of the world’s worst epidemics. The billion-dollar budget cut proposed by President Trump and the strategy for PEPFAR laid out by Secretary Tillerson last year would have squandered that progress and the goodwill it has earned.

“Secretary-designate Pompeo has an incredible opportunity in front of him to be part of an extraordinary series of leaders who have expanded PEPFAR’s reach, saved lives, and given hope to millions. But that opportunity needs to start with distancing himself from Secretary Tillerson’s approach. He should pursue a strategy that calls for full funding for PEPFAR and the Global Fund, and aggressively adds more people to treatment everywhere it’s needed, not solely in the countries closest to containing the epidemic.”

A report released by ONE last November details the consequences of the budget cuts and strategy for PEPFAR proposed by Secretary Tillerson.