amfAR Warns of Deadly Human Impact of Proposed Cuts in Global Health Funding
Group Opposes Severe Funding Cuts and Anti-Science Policy in State, Foreign Operations Bill in the House
For Immediate Release
Cub Barrett, Program Communications Manager
NEW YORK, August 1—amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Monday raised serious concerns about a US House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee bill that would undermine the global AIDS response, cutting funding from successful AIDS and other global health programs and banning support for lifesaving services.
The State, Foreign Operations bill would cut 9% from current global health funding levels and 18% from President Obama’s FY2012 budget request. Additionally, the bill would prohibit funding for syringe exchange programs (SEPs), which are proven to reduce the incidence of HIV infection.
“AIDS research has made tremendous strides in just the past year, and we now have the tools to significantly reduce HIV incidence and mortality,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “If we don’t make the proper investments now to change the trajectory of the epidemic, we will pay much more down the road.”
“The science shows us how to begin to end the worst epidemic of our time,” said Chris Collins, amfAR’s vice president and director of public policy. “It’s a tragedy that at a time like this we are considering defunding that effort and turning away from the evidence of what works to prevent new infections.”
A preliminary analysis by amfAR of the impact of proposed cuts on bilateral global health programming found that if the proposed House subcommittee bill were to become law:
- 24,074 more infants could be infected with HIV due to reductions in services to combat vertical transmission (from a pregnant woman to her newborn).
- 345,559 orphans and vulnerable children could lose their food, education, and livelihood assistance.
- Funding for AIDS treatment for 332,216 people would be eliminated, resulting in a halt to treatment expansion and deeper cuts in HIV prevention and other areas in an effort to avoid removing current patients from lifesaving treatment.
- 3.8 million fewer people would be treated for malaria and 1.6 million fewer insecticide-treated nets would be available.
- 37,292 fewer people with tuberculosis (TB) and 375 fewer people with multidrug-resistant TB would receive lifesaving treatment, seriously endangering their lives as well as others’ due to the highly contagious nature of this illness.
Those figures represent only cuts to bilateral programs, like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and do not reflect the impact of anticipated additional cuts to programs like The Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Additionally, unlike past global health funding bills, the new House bill would combine multiple health programs into one budget line.
“Lumping all global health programs together in one budget item weakens Congress’ important, historic role in global health policy,” Collins said. “One line item for global health undermines transparency and open dialogue about allocation of resources, and will not promote global health goals.”
The State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill is not expected to be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee until after the August recess.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $325 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.