The Trump administration included cuts to global HIV funding in its budget proposal again this year, and again it reduces funding by $1 billion.
Following the same proposed cuts last year, the ONE campaign - a nonprofit fighting HIV/AIDS around the world - released a report detailing the negative impact such a drastic reduction in U.S. funding would have.
Three-hundred thousand deaths per year.
That’s the human cost of President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut $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.
The bulk of the funding cuts would fall on PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief), a program initiated by George W. Bush and credited with saving 11 million lives over the past 15 years.
There has been bipartisan support for PEPFAR over the years, but Trump’s budget cuts it by $800 million, in addition to $225 million to be cut from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Both would be unprecedented cuts for the agencies.
It is likely that Congress will reject the proposal this time around, just as it did last year, but the move quickly drew criticism:
“The United States has been a leader in the fight to end the AIDS epidemic around the world and these programs are vital to the health of millions around the world,” David Stacy, Government Affairs Director at the Human Rights Campaign, told the Daily Beast. “The Trump-Pence Administration is abandoning a bipartisan effort that Presidents Bush and Obama championed. Cutting essential funding for these life-saving services jeopardizes not only LGTBQ people but significantly undermines the overall health infrastructure in these countries.”
So far White House officials have not explained the reasoning behind the decision.