(Washington, DC) — AIDS activists today rejected President Trump’s FY 2021 budget request, which calls for even deeper cuts to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the major bilateral funding program for the global AIDS response, than Trump proposed last year. Trump’s budget requests $3.2 billion in FY 2021 — $200 million less than the President’s own budget request for FY 2020, and $1.17 billion less than the enacted FY 2020 funding levels for the bilateral funding program that, among other essential healthcare services, provides life-saving HIV treatment to millions around the world.
“Today’s budget request is a chilling reminder that, if he had it his way, President Trump would take a hacksaw to the HIV treatment and healthcare programs that save the lives of millions of people around the world,” said Emily Sanderson, National Organizer, Health GAP and the Student Global AIDS Campaign. “The president has threatened people living with HIV enough these last three years. It’s time for Congress to roundly reject Trump’s deadly vision for gutting the HIV response and instead rapidly scale up funding and provide an additional $500 million for PEPFAR this year.”
Trump’s budget also proposes cutting foreign aid by 21 percent and creating new steep barriers to access for Medicare and Medicaid, which provide healthcare for the majority of Americans living with HIV.
“President Trump chased headlines last week by vowing to end AIDS in the U.S. by 2030. But here we are, just a week later, and he’s proposing deep and deadly cuts to the very programs Americans living with HIV rely on for life-saving healthcare,” said Health GAP Director of U.S. Policy & Advocacy, Matthew Rose.
President Trump once again proposes cutting to the bone of the U.S. programs that fund the global AIDS response, despite warnings from experts that doing so would cost more than 1 million lives.
A fully-funded U.S. response to the HIV pandemic would require $1 billion in additional funding for PEPFAR, with an additional $500 million needed this year alone to put the response back on track.
The President’s budget also repeats his desire to backpedal on the U.S. commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria by proposing a match of $1 for every $3 committed by other donors. The U.S. has a longstanding commitment from Congress to provide one-third of the funding for the Global Fund, which is equivalent to $1 for every $2 from other donors.
The President’s budget request is widely seen as a statement of the President’s personal priorities, and, in an election year, provides a window into the agenda Trump would pursue if reelected.
“There should be no question about Donald Trump’s vision for the future when it comes to people living with and at greatest risk of HIV,” said Asia Russell, Executive Director of Health GAP. “With stakes this high, it’s time for all 2020 candidates to release their plans for demonstrating leadership in fighting for people living with HIV around the world.”