Trump and Pence want to slash $350 million from HIV/AIDS prevention budgets

Trump and Pence want to slash $350 million from HIV/AIDS prevention budgets

Donald Trump and Mike Pence have made proposals to gut the funding for the US’s pioneering HIV/AIDS prevention projects.

The bulk of the cuts are proposed to the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which was set up by former President George W Bush to tackle the AIDS crisis, and is one of the largest providers of funding for global projects battling the spread of HIV/AIDS.

White House budget documents supplied to Congress and published by Politico this week reveal that Trump and Pence are planning to slash $242 million from the PEPFAR budget.

The White House claims the cuts will “maintain current commitments” and that the savings will come from ending “less effective HIV research and prevention activities”, but activists say the cuts will cripple global attempts to eradicate AIDS.

The budget document claims: “This reduction would achieve savings by requiring PEPFAR to begin slowing the rate of new patients on treatment in FY 17, by reducing support to low-performing countries, by reducing lower-priorityprevention programs, or by identifying new efficiencies or other savings.”

Further cuts of $50 million are also set out in the document for the domestic HIV/AIDS budget, with an equal $50 million cut from the CDC’s Global HIV/AIDS program, despite previous assurances that HIV/AIDS budgets would be protected.

The document claims: “This reduction would eliminate less effective HIV research and prevention activities and accelerate reductions proposed in FY 2018.”

US government projects including PEPFAR have previously been credited with helping bring the global AIDS crisis under control, halving the death rate in countries where it is active within just five years.

The proposed cuts to PEPFAR come despite Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson describing it as “one of the most extraordinarily successful programs” during his confirmation hearing.

Tillerson had claimed: “I saw it up close and personal, and I know that PEPFAR has broadly brought so much goodwill from Africa, recognition of the goodwill and the compassionate nature of the American people.

“[PEPFAR] is one of the best projections of compassion into the continent that I think that you will ever find, and it is broadly recognised by the leaders, and more importantly, recognised by those who it touches.”

President Obama previously warned about the importance of maintaining funding for HIV/AIDS projects.

In a World AIDS Day message, the outgoing President said: “We need to do more to reach those who are at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS, and the United States is helping shape the world’s response to this crisis and working alongside the international community to end this epidemic by 2030.

“We have strengthened and expanded the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with now more than $70 billion invested, to accelerate our progress and work to control this epidemic with comprehensive and data-focused efforts.

“With PEPFAR support for more than 11 million people on life-saving treatment and through contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria — including a new pledge of more than $4 billion through 2019 — there are now more than 18 million people getting HIV treatment and care.

“Because in sub-Saharan Africa young women and adolescent girls are over eight times more likely to get HIV/AIDS than young men, we launched a comprehensive prevention program to reduce HIV infections among this population in 10 sub-Saharan African countries.

“We have also helped prevent millions of new infections worldwide, including in more than 1.5 million babies of HIV-positive mothers who were born free of HIV.”

He warned: “Although we have come far in recent decades, our work is not yet done and the urgency to intervene in this epidemic is critical… accelerating the progress we have made will require sustained commitment and passion from every sector of society and across every level of government around the world.”

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  1. beejay
    April 04, 07:27 Reply

    Why Trump plays so much though? He’s gotta stop, this is real life we’re talking here.

  2. Mandy
    April 04, 07:45 Reply

    Is this man’s obsession with making American great again so great that he doesn’t see that part of America’s greatness lies in the good they’re doing around the world? See what I was fearing? Life’s looking to get hard for HIV poz guys in Africa if this man is to have his way.

  3. Dubem
    April 04, 07:48 Reply

    I’m just here remembering those Igbos who thought Trump would help them with Biafra. Lol. Dude clearly has no time for Africa, let alone Nigerian civil affairs.

  4. Simba
    April 04, 08:15 Reply

    I said oooo.. Na this Pepfar I was scared of.. Congress should not allow it sail through because, our government is not ready to fund any research or even subsidize ARVs.. Even we, may start looking for other jobs..

  5. Francis
    April 04, 09:43 Reply

    Dem don start small small. If you go through the mission statement of some NGOs dem don dey enter into sustainability mode with most of them focusing on patients that are already enrolled into the HIV program. I fear at a point in time, PEPFAR will announce a total shift of focus to their patients while all new cases would be left to battle it out with our useless as fuck government ??

  6. Khaleesi
    April 04, 09:46 Reply

    This is scary as fuck!! Nigerians need to pay more attention to this! In a country with a high prevalence of HIV infections, access to free HIV medication is key; am terrified at what might happen if that is cut off. Noooooooo

  7. Canis VY Majoris
    April 04, 10:44 Reply

    I envisaged this was going to happen soon. More reason to practice safe sex and be responsible.

  8. Brian Collins
    April 04, 15:25 Reply

    This is coming from people who are vehemently against abortion. I am almost certain that there are some people who would not the able to stand the thought of passing on the virus to their unborn child leading to wanting an abortion.
    The implications of this budget slash will be too many to discuss.
    They probably think they will be able to kill off members of the LGBTIA community especially in third world countries and even reduce world population drastically so that number the so-called illegal immigrants will reduce; thereby making America great again.
    What a bunch of idiotic fools!!!

  9. bryannnn
    April 07, 23:27 Reply

    PEPFAR programme is being handled partly by FHI, 360, Its like yhry sae it coming with this Trump’s administration…. A reason they quickly instituted SFI Sustainable financing initiative, which is currently taking place in 2 pilot centres Lagos and Port Harcourt.

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