Now is the Wrong Time to Backslide on Funding for Lifesaving Global Health and HIV/AIDS Programs

July 27, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      
Contact: Robert Yule, 202-448-8456, ryule@pedaids.org

Statement of Charles Lyons, President & CEO, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

July 27, 2011, Washington, D.C. – “Today’s decision by the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee to drastically slash global health funding is deeply concerning and could threaten the continued success of lifesaving programs around the world.

Proposed cuts include more than $700 million to the administration’s Global Health Initiative, which will directly impact the bipartisan and highly successful HIV/AIDS program known as the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.

This is exactly the wrong time to reduce funding for lifesaving global health and HIV/AIDS programs.

Notwithstanding the exceptionally difficult budget environment we find ourselves in, we cannot ignore the fact that U.S. funding has been crucial to reaching previously unseen high-water marks and progress in the global AIDS fight.

Today we are seeing countries in sub-Saharan Africa that once struggled to provide the most basic HIV services to women and children now committed to universal coverage to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV – proof that ending pediatric AIDS is possible in the near term. We have recently seen increased political and financial commitments from countries and international partners through a comprehensive global strategy to realize a generation of children born free of HIV. And the science coming out of last week’s International AIDS Society conference in Rome has given renewed hope and optimism for both prevention and treatment of the AIDS pandemic.

We’re at a crucial tipping point, and we cannot afford to reverse the substantial gains we’ve made over the past decade.

We urge Congress to make the right decision, both morally and economically, to preserve funding for global health programs. It’s been a smart and successful investment, and one that deserves continued support.”

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About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation:

The Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV and AIDS, and has reached more than 12.2 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently works at more than 5,500 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.