The U.S. Congress and President Donald J. Trump, on Friday, adopted bipartisan appropriations legislation that will increase funding for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) while keeping the U.S. government open for the rest of the current fiscal year. The bill will appropriate $5.72 billion for PEPFAR and $1.35 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

 

“This proposal will give the first major budget increase for PEPFAR in ten years and shows that the HIV response still enjoys strong bipartisan support,” said Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President.  “We’re grateful to Democrats and Republicans for making a well-funded AIDS response a top priority. This a strong first step in finally tackling the persistently high rate of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths around the world, but we need to see much more robust commitments in the next fiscal year if we want to see tangible progress in global AIDS control.”

 

PEPFAR is the U.S. government’s program to address the HIV epidemic outside the United States. Proposed by President George W. Bush, it was established in 2003 by an act of Congress and is the biggest single disease-specific global health initiative in history. Since its beginning, it has saved 18.9 million lives; ensured lifesaving treatment for 14.6 million people living with HIV; supported 2.4 million babies born HIV-free to HIV-positive mothers; provided voluntary medical circumcision to 18.9 million males globally; and supported HIV testing services for 95 million people.

 

Since the Global Fund’s inception in 2002, it has saved over 27 million lives. There are over 17.5 million people receiving lifesaving antiretroviral therapy for HIV, and in 2017 alone, the Fund treated 5 million people for tuberculosis and distributed nearly 200 million mosquito nets to combat malaria. Its proven multilateral model effectively balances donor input with the greatest need and ensures almost $4 billion per year reaches programs run by local experts in low- and middle-income countries.

 

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