Funding to fight AIDS globally is at risk despite bipartisan success story of Pepfar

From Grace Chen, Jaelithe Virgin-Downey and Betsy Prezioso, for Harvard College’s chapter of Partners in Health Engage, Feb. 14, 2017: In a congressional hearing with Rex Tillerson, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey asserted that the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and U.S. leadership in the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria were “one of our great achievements over the last couple of decades … millions of lives have been saved, and health infrastructure has been built in the developing world.”

Initiated by President George W. Bush in 2003, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief funds the research, prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS across the globe. Last year alone, the program’s vital work provided-life saving medicine for 11.5 million men, women and children. It also provided preventative care and testing to nearly 75 million people last year. Pepfar is a bipartisan success story demonstrating America’s leadership and values.

The program’s funding is at risk in the Congressional budget. A cut in its funding would leave millions of HIV-positive people without the treatment they need to survive. It would also be a devastating setback for communities across the world who continue to be affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Thanks to Markey and Tillerson for recognizing the tremendous impact of Pepfar and making it a priority in the secretary of state’s duties. We urge Markey and Tillerson to continue to prioritize funding for the program and America’s important leadership in global health – and for constituents to call their representatives and express their support.

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