President Biden’s FY23 budget proposal includes a $20 million cut to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and a $5 million cut to UNAIDS along with other budget actions that result in an overall funding cut to existing global health funds. Health GAP reacted to the President’s budget proposal with the following statement.
Executive Director Asia Russell said: “President Biden’s budget ignores the fact that insufficient budgets are deadly and pretends that the U.S. can afford to retreat from its responsibility to people with HIV and their communities without repercussions. Funding gaps are the number one thing holding back the global HIV response right now and this budget proposal would make a bad situation much worse. What a deplorable approach to global health in the middle of several surging pandemics – particularly when people living with HIV are already at greater risk of sickness and death from COVID-19. President Biden should be ashamed.
“AIDS activists have just spent three weeks meeting with PEPFAR and national government officials planning the HIV response in the coming year and time after time communities were told there is not enough funding for the evidence-based expansions of treatment and prevention that are needed at this moment in the pandemic. Essential testing and prevention commodities have gotten more expensive and treatment gaps have grown because of COVID-19. People living with HIV are feeling the painful consequences of scarcity budgeting created by year after year of flat-funding from a U.S. government that wants to bask in the glory of having created PEPFAR twenty years ago without the current-day responsibility of providing the funding needed to get the job done. Congress must reject this scarcity mentality and fund PEPFAR to at least $5.12 billion for FY23 so it can continue the ambitious life-saving work it was created to do, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”