Advocates call on the Senate to Turn Away from 8 Years of Devastating PEPFAR Flat Funding and to retain the House’s Historic Repeal of Dangerous “Global Gag Rule”
(Washington, DC)–In reaction to the passage by the House of Representatives of the FY20 spending bill, which included flat funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR, the US bilateral AIDS program), Health GAP issued the following statement:
“We are severely disappointed that the House has chosen not to increase funding for PEPFAR,” said Health GAP Director of U.S. Policy & Advocacy, Matthew Rose. “Increasing funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) is an important step, but is far from sufficient. Eight years of PEPFAR flat funding is undermining global efforts to end the AIDS pandemic.
“PEPFAR flat funding has: undermined scale-up of potentially game-changing efforts to reach all children perinatally infected with HIV with timely diagnosis and lifesaving treatment, slowed deployment of new efforts to treat and prevent co-infection of TB and HIV, and curtailed expansion of high impact behavioral and biomedical HIV prevention interventions for adolescent girls and young women.
“We call on the Senate to propose the PEPFAR funding increases needed to help put the response to the AIDS epidemic back on track.”
“We applaud the House for voting to eliminate the ‘Global Gag Rule,’ a devastating policy drastically expanded by President Trump that bars foreign non governmental organizations that receive US funding from using their own funds to provide women with abortion services or referrals, or to advocate to change laws related to abortion. This rule has slashed funding to front-line service providers providing integrated HIV, reproductive health, and maternal healthcare services.” The policy also has been associated with increased rates of unsafe abortion in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The passage of the Global HER Act in the House shows crucial leadership by Congress in striking down a policy that puts women in harm’s way,” continued Rose. “The Senate should likewise vote to defeat this deplorable policy.”
Health GAP is an international advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all people living with HIV have access to affordable life saving 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.