Three-hundred thousand deaths per year.
That’s the human cost of President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut more than $1 billion cut from global HIV funding in 2019, a 20% reduction from current levels, according to a report by the ONE campaign. And it comes just when American-led efforts are paying off, and the global tide of the epidemic appears to be turning.
Ironically, the proposed cut lands mostly on the program responsible for America’s success in this area, PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief), initiated by George W. Bush and beloved of Trump-voting evangelical Christians – today, many leading HIV relief organizations are religiously affiliated.
There has been bipartisan support for PEPFAR over the years, but Trump’s budget cuts it by $800 million, in addition to $425 million to be cut from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Both would be unprecedented cuts for the agencies.
And yet, PEPFAR is working. Based on epidemiological research, PEPFAR alone is credited with saving 11 million lives over the past 15 years. PEPFAR was also a catalyst for other countries, and private actors, to invest more and to combat other diseases at the same time as HIV.
These efforts have yielded significant results. There has been a 47 percent decrease in AIDS-related deaths since 2003, and new, inexpensive anti-retroviral medications have turned the tide in several countries. Read more via Daily Beast