May 2015

Sir Elton John, Global Health Leaders Take Fight for an AIDS-free Future to Capitol Hill

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Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) hosted an appropriations hearing of the Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee to highlight the importance of U.S. supported global health funding particularly around HIV/AIDS.

Continued Congressional support for this funding is indispensable as it ensures that millions of children, pregnant women and their families impacted by HIV/AIDS are able to access lifesaving prevention, care and treatment services. Panelists included Ambassador Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator; Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Sir Elton John, musician and founder of the Elton John Foundation; and Dr. Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church.

The discussion included diverse topics such as the impact of funding cuts, the importance of health systems strengthening and the role stigma plays in fighting the epidemic. We were particularly pleased to hear Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) ask Ambassador Birx about the Accelerating Children’s Treatment (ACT) initiative. Ambassador Birx highlighted that this public private partnership between the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) is a “key initiative” to address the incredible treatment disparity among HIV positive children.

U.S. funded programs such as the ACT Initiative, PEPFAR and other global health efforts are truly saving the lives of children and their families. As Elton John noted “today thanks to the unprecedented actions of Congress an HIV positive mother in South Africa can give birth to a healthy HIV free baby that she can live to raise.”

You can send the message to your own elected officials in Congress that these programs are essential– ask them to support robust funding for global HIV/AIDS.