From Allison Garber, Matthew Reynolds, Karen Melancon and Jonathan You for Harvard College’s Partners In Health Engage, April 14, 2016: While presidential debates have been heating up, one global issue continues to be overlooked.
Under the George W. Bush administration, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief saved millions of lives by providing medications for those living with HIV. Since 2010, though, President Barack Obama has cut that funding by $300 million, threatening the stability of this highly effective program. In total, 37 million people are estimated to be living with HIV – six times the total population of Massachusetts.
By passing a $525 million annual increase to the funding, Congress has the ability to double the number of people on antiretroviral treatment to 30 million by 2020, putting us on track to potentially end the global AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Massachusetts residents have the ability to make a difference by calling the offices of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and their local U.S. representative, asking them to fight for a $525 million increase to the funding. Any single phone call could tip the scale, increasing funding to PEPFAR and saving millions of lives and lives to come.
We have the ability to have an AIDS-free generation. Restoring funding to the funding is the first step in making this ambition a reality.
The writers are Harvard students and Cambridge residents.