Presidential Candidates: Don't Pull the Wool Over Our Eyes on HIV Funding

Clinton___Sanders_final.jpgWith the New York Primaries happening today, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have been campaigning all over the state— and both have disappointed AIDS activists. Neither candidate could find time to schedule a meeting with us, as requested months ago, before the April 19th vote.

Last week, a coalition of AIDS activists - including Health GAP - pressured both campaigns to stop ignoring people living with HIV and their allies and meet with us. To their credit, these meetings have been now been scheduled - but not until May, well after the New York primary is over.

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Dear UNAIDS: Magical thinking on who will fund the AIDS response will not end the epidemic

[originally posted on Medium.com]

On Saturday, April 2, UNAIDS released revised resource needs estimates that reflect important new analysis about what it will take to put the world on the “fast track” to ending the AIDS crisis by achieving the 90–90–90 treatment goals. UNAIDS calculates $26.2 billion is needed in low- and middle-income countries by 2020 in order for the world to reach a critical tipping point, after which the cost of the response will begin to fall. The 2020 funding gap is roughly $6 billion — about what Americans will spend on Independence Day celebrations this year or what US Presidential candidates will spend on ads this election cycle. This is an entirely achievable goal.

Ending the AIDS pandemic in our lifetimes requires politically-informed, human rights-based strategies to mobilize sufficient resources. The world needs $26 billion by 2020 in order to front-load the investment needed to end the AIDS crisis.
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The Next President Has a Narrow Window to End Global AIDS: The Plan All Candidates Must Address

Tens of millions of people have died of AIDS-related causes since the beginning of the epidemic. As the most serious epidemic in living memory, AIDS has necessarily been a campaign platform in presidential races for the last 20 years. The US plays the most crucial role in funding the response to the global pandemic, and with current available treatments, the next president of the United States has a historic opportunity to be the one who ends the AIDS pandemic. And yet, until last weekend, not a single presidential candidate had an official strategy for the global AIDS response. 

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Fighting Uganda’s Health Worker Crisis: A Recipe for Success

More than sixteen Ugandan women die every day of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth – complications that almost never kill women in wealthy countries. Uganda’s national shortage of professional health workers is a cross-cutting health crisis, directly contributing to maternal mortality, lack of access to HIV treatment, and more. 

Over the last two decades, while the country endured a catastrophic HIV epidemic, heartbreaking maternal mortality rates, and a range of other health crises, the Ugandan government did not prioritize health funding in spite of steady economic growth.

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Omnibus spending bill passes but fails to restore $300 M to PEPFAR

The omnibus appropriations passed this morning in a vote of 310 to 112, and the FY 16 budget bill is sure to be signed by the President.  Health GAP and our fellow global AIDS activists are very disappointed that the mega spending bill fails to restore the $300 million in funding cuts that PEPFAR, the U.S.-funded global AIDS program, has seen since 2011. Instead, funding for global AIDS treatment and prevention remained level to FY 2015 at $4.32 billion for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and $1.35 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

This is a pivotal moment in the history of the most devastating epidemic in modern history. We have the opportunity to end the HIV pandemic in the coming decade, but without enough funding for treatment and prevention, President Obama and Congress are betraying their promise to end AIDS. 

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