Statement from Hilary McQuie, Director of U.S. Policy & Grassroots Mobilization, Health GAP on President Trump’s “Skinny Budget”
“The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has been one of the most effective and strategic programs the United States has ever undertaken, providing life-saving treatment for one in four people with HIV around the world and preventing millions of new infections. Combined with its investment in global health made through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the United States has a deeply rooted bipartisan commitment to global HIV treatment and prevention. This ‘skinny budget’ is right to maintain that commitment, which is a shared priority of human rights and global health advocates, national security experts, medical professionals and the faith community.
“Still, more than half of people living with HIV do not have access to treatment, and millions are dying unnecessarily because of austerity budgeting. Two billion dollars in additional annual resources are needed from the U.S. to fully fund PEPFAR and the Global Fund. Maintaining the status quo is no reason to celebrate -- it’s a decision to not do the necessary scale up via PEPFAR, which leaves 19 million people untreated and will cause millions of avoidable deaths.
“We are also deeply concerned about the proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health, Health and Human Services, and other global health programming, which will make it harder to end AIDS as an epidemic by 2030. Cutting health and research budgets -- global or domestic -- is a short-sighted approach that trades short-term cuts at the expense of people’s lives, driving up long-term costs and abandoning promising new HIV medicines already in the pipeline. We call on Congress to refuse these proposed cuts and to fully fund the U.S. share of global AIDS treatment scale up in the final budget.”
About Health GAP:
Health GAP is an international advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all people living with HIV have access to affordable life sustaining medicines. Our team pairs pragmatic policy work with audacious grassroots action to win equitable access to treatment, care and prevention for people living with and affected by HIV worldwide. We are dedicated to eliminating barriers to universal access to affordable life sustaining medicines for people living with HIV/AIDS as key to a comprehensive strategy to confront and ultimately stop the AIDS pandemic. We believe that the human right to life and to health must prevail over the pharmaceutical industry's excessive profits and expanding patent rights.