Health GAP Calls on Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton to Directly Confront the AIDS Funding Crisis Threatening Her Vision
(September 16, 2016) – World leaders, hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are meeting today and tomorrow in Montreal for the 5th Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Obama Administration’s funding pledge on behalf of the United States – which covers the first three years of the next President’s first term – would dramatically under fund the campaign pledge made by Secretary Clinton to achieve an AIDS-free generation. In light of this funding shortfall and Secretary Clinton’s strong leadership as Secretary of State, Health GAP today called on her to speak out on how she would mobilize the critical resources required to achieve her bold campaign pledge and commit to the aggressive funding scale-up needed to avoid a disastrous backslide in the HIV epidemic.
“Hillary Clinton has the platform to set the standard for our role in the global HIV response, and she deserves credit for stepping up to the plate and being the only Presidential candidate to release a policy on global AIDS,” said Hilary McQuie, Health GAP’s Director of U.S. Policy and Grassroots Mobilization. “Her campaign pledges will set the agenda for her administration. The U.S. has been a leader in the past. Secretary Clinton can make us a leader again by declaring her commitment to an AIDS-free generation by pledging to add $2 billion per year for the global HIV response by 2020.”
This week’s Global Fund Replenishment conference is coming at a time when funding for the AIDS response is in crisis. Recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS shows that donor funding for the HIV response in low- and middle-income countries declined by almost 13% between 2014 and 2015. According to UNAIDS, the world needs to allocate an additional $7 billion each year to halt new infections and avert a resurgent AIDS pandemic. Despite some hopeful increases from individual countries, the overall funding for the global HIV response is at dangerously low levels.
In 2011, Secretary Clinton and President Obama announced a commitment to an AIDS-free generation, but reaching that goal will be impossible without an increase in funding that has not yet materialized. The Obama administration flat-lined its financial contribution to the global HIV response in recent years, and Congress is set to let that happen again in fiscal year 2017.
“Hillary Clinton’s platform sets out a bold vision for the kind of global leadership she would provide on AIDS if she becomes president,” said Matthew Kavanagh, Health GAP Senior Policy Analyst. “But the current U.S. pledge to the Global Fund doesn’t provide sufficient funding to make her vision a reality. Marginal funding increases aren’t enough, and will actually put hard fought progress at risk. Secretary Clinton has pledged her commitment to an AIDS-free generation. Candidate Clinton should commit her administration to providing the $2 billion increase in annual funding that is needed by 2020 to achieve that goal.”
Secretary Clinton can lead the U.S. to regain its position as a global leader on AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by declaring an intention to increase annual U.S. spending on the global HIV response by $2 billion by the year 2020 – including funding for PEPFAR and the Global Fund – and committing to extend the push over the next several years to secure more than $13 billion in total funding for the Global Fund.
In this replenishment cycle, the U.S. has committed once again to match one dollar for every two contributed by other countries, but only up to a hard ceiling of $4.3 billion or one third of the Global Fund’s $13 billion goal. Sadly, this U.S. pledge amounts to a reduction in the ceiling for U.S. contributions from the previous round’s $5 billion cap. This pledge also amounts to a marginal 7.5% increase from the last round’s $4 billion total contribution. In contrast with recently announced increases from other countries, including a 33% increased pledge from Germany, 20% increases from Canada, the European Commission and Italy, and a new $5 million commitment from Kenya, the U.S. is falling well short of what it should contribute in order to have a meet the global funding needs.
The Global Fund has made tremendous progress against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, but the $13 billion USD funding target for this round falls well short of the significant increases UNAIDS estimates are necessary to adequately address the epidemic. UNAIDS projects a failure to scale up the global HIV response between now and 2020 will result in 17.6 million more new infections and 10.8 million more deaths. More information on the 5th Replenishment Conference is available here and a livestream will be available here.
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has ignored the issue and the community. He has not released policy proposals for addressing the AIDS pandemic and his campaign has not agreed to meet with AIDS activists, unlike Secretary Clinton and former candidate Bernie Sanders.