Posted by Kimberley Meijers on June 16, 2017 at 6:12 am
|Dear IAPAC Members, Friends, and Allies,
I write you about an urgent matter at a critical juncture in the global AIDS response. We are building upon significant momentum to attain the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 targets by 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. Both the targets and the goal can be achieved. However, there can be no progress without action, and our ability to act is attenuated when much-needed funding is jeopardized.
Under the Trump Administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal to the US Congress, global health funding for programs such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) would be hard hit. Bilateral PEPFAR programs would experience an $880 million cut – $470 million from the State Department’s HIV budget, $330 million from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) HIV budget, and $80 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) global HIV budget. Additionally, the US contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria (Global Fund) would be cut by $225 million. Other essential US State Department and USAID global health programs would also see drastic cuts from fiscal year 2017 funding levels, including malaria (44% cut), tuberculosis (26% cut), and maternal/child health (8% cut).
If allowed to occur, the proposed cuts to PEPFAR and the Global Fund – as well as to USAID global health programs – will compromise our ongoing efforts and slow our forward momentum. Given the bipartisan support that PEPFAR and the Global Fund enjoy, and US commitment to maintaining its leadership role in global health, IAPAC is advocating that the US Congress continue to prioritize global HIV and health investments. The return on these investments can be measured in lives saved and enhanced, as well as in global health security gains.
I urge our US-based IAPAC members, friends, and allies to contact your Congressional representatives by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and asking to be connected to your Senator’s or Representative’s office(s). Here is a link to a website that lists Senators and Representatives by state and/or zip code. Educate your Senator or Representative about the importance of maintaining a robust global AIDS and health response fueled by an adequate US investment.
If you are US-based but working internationally on global HIV or health programs, share your story with your elected representative(s) in the US Congress and with the news media (e.g., letters to the editor). I encourage those of you who are not US-based to do likewise, reaching out to your news media to share examples of the good work that is being advanced in your communities, cities, and countries by PEPFAR, USAID, CDC, and the Global Fund.
As important, take to social media to expand the global reach of your advocacy. Relevant Twitter handles and hashtags include: @PEPFAR @USAID @USAIDGH @CDCGov @CDCGlobal @GlobalFund @IAPAC @UNAIDS #HIV #AIDS #TB #Malaria #909090 #EndAIDS #AIDSFreeGen #AmericaLeads
Our advocacy message is simple: America is great when it leads global health efforts, such as those aimed at curbing AIDS-related deaths, averting new HIV infections, and ultimately controlling the HIV epidemic. America is also great when it extends a helping hand to the most vulnerable in our global society – as the United States has done throughout its history in response to poverty, disease, conflicts, and crises.
|Thank you in advance for your advocacy on behalf of the global AIDS response.
Dr. José M. Zuniga