Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Deeply Concerned About U.S. House Funding Cuts to Global

February 19, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Robert Yule, Senior Media Relations Manager, 202-448-8456

Statement from Charles Lyons, President and CEO, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

February 19, 2011, Washington, D.C. – “Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that drastically cuts lifesaving global health funding – including $363 million for global HIV and AIDS programs and $450 million for the Global Fund. I am deeply concerned about this action – and call on the Senate to remain resolute in its commitment to fight this disease and save lives around the world.

Since the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003, the United States has led the rest of the world in combating HIV/AIDS – and we have realized significant success. With the commitment of a bipartisan Congress, the global health community has reached millions of women, children, and families with lifesaving prevention, care, and treatment services. We have scaled up this work in a measurable and cost-effective manner. And we have also built these programs for their ultimate transfer to country-led, sustainable efforts.

We are currently reaching 53% of women around the world who need services to prevent the transmission of HIV to their babies – up from only 15% five years ago. It is our moral responsibility to maintain and grow this work – not to reduce it just as global momentum to realize the elimination of pediatric AIDS is within reach.

While providing funding for programs like PEPFAR has produced substantial results in a short amount of time, cutting this funding will also have a swift and profound effect. According to PEPFAR estimates, 100,000 fewer pregnant women would receive services to protect their babies from the virus, likely resulting in 20,000 infants needlessly infected with HIV.

Not only is this morally unacceptable, it also doesn’t make economic sense. These cuts will result in 20,000 additional children in need of a lifetime of HIV treatment.

Even in these challenging economic times, Congress and other global health leaders must continue this dialogue to find ways to adequately fund bi-lateral and multi-lateral HIV/AIDS efforts. The American people have always held out a hand to those who need it most. Let us not take that hand away, and jeopardize the progress made by these lifesaving humanitarian programs that have provided millions of children the opportunity of living a healthy life – free from HIV.”

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About the Foundation:
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV and AIDS, and has reached nearly 11 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. The Foundation works at more than 5,100 sites in 17 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute strategic and targeted global advocacy activities in order to bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide.