Tell Senator Bernie Sanders to Increase Funding for Life-Saving HIV Programs Around the Globe
The Senate is currently working on the next COVID relief bill which will be finalized by March 17.
There is a small sliver of money in the bill for global health—including global HIV programs like PEPFAR—that have been disrupted because of COVID. The amount they want to allocate is not even close to enough. To make sure we don’t lose the gains we’ve won for global HIV treatment, we need more money for PEPFAR in this COVID relief bill.
The relief bill has $3.5 billion for the Global Fund, but PEPFAR and the Global Fund do different things at the service-delivery level, and PEPFAR-supported treatment programs will continue to suffer setbacks without the full $1.4 billion needed to put them back on track.
Senator Bernie Sanders has the power as Budget Committee chair to increase PEPFAR money in the COVID-19 relief bill.
“Good (morning/afternoon), my name is ________ and I’m (whatever descriptor you want: student, advocate, doctor, etc.) and a constituent.
I am concerned that COVID-19 is causing people living with HIV around the world to face devastating disruptions in access to treatment services. To prevent those disruptions and ensure rapid restoration of HIV prevention and treatment, the COVID-19 supplemental bill being negotiated must include $1.4 billion for PEPFAR, not the House amount of $250 million. Will you share this message with Senator Sanders and ask him to reply to my message with his position on this issue?“
Since 2001, the U.S. has been a leader in funding the global AIDS response. It is the biggest donor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and home to the largest fund in history for a single disease: the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Political leadership from the U.S. through these two programs has made the end of the AIDS pandemic possible in the foreseeable future. However, the U.S. has recently failed to prioritize funding levels for PEPFAR and the Global Fund. Research from Kaiser Family Foundation shows these programs have been essentially flat-funded since 2010.
In recent years, there have been major scientific advancements within the HIV community, and new evidence shows that starting people on treatment upon diagnosis leads to considerably better outcomes. Research has also shown that when people are on treatment and have sustained viral suppression, they cannot transmit HIV.
In the absence of funding increases to PEPFAR and the Global Fund, the potential of these scientific breakthroughs has not been fully realized, at the cost of millions of human lives. According to UNAIDS, a $7.2 billion funding gap per year must be filled in order to achieve the global goal of ending AIDS as a global public health threat by 2030. Millions of lives depend on Congress to increase its investment in global health and the HIV response.