Trump Sends Chilling Proposal to Congress with Deadly Proposition -- Cap HIV Treatment Expansion Immediately
(Originally posted on Medium.com)
President Donald Trump included a chilling proposal last week in his request for the as yet unresolved 2017 federal budget: slash funding for the wildly successful and bipartisan-backed President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by $300 million and "begin slowing the rate of new patients on treatment in FY 17." While many policymakers are dismissing the possibility that this proposed budget will pass through Congress, advocates nevertheless have every reason to be deeply concerned. This dangerous proposal is likely a harbinger of more grave harm to come. What could be a worse strategy for combatting the world’s leading infectious disease killer than slowing the expansion of treatment that not only saves lives but also prevents HIV transmission?
Thirty years ago in the United States, an AIDS diagnosis was a death sentence. So little was known about the new disease that was hitting otherwise healthy people – primarily young, gay men – and even less was being done to end the epidemic. The institutional response was willfully negligent at worst and slow-moving at best. Something had to change.Read more
(Originally published on The Hill)
In 2003 I travelled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for the first time. Like most of the continent, Tanzania was staggering under the burden of a burgeoning AIDS epidemic. AIDS was still a death sentence.
I met women with HIV whose babies were born with HIV, even though drugs existed that could prevent this. Coffin makers dominated the markets and lined the streets. Virtually no one was receiving the life-saving antiretroviral drugs that had already transformed the AIDS crisis in the United States.Read more
Two years ago, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a done-deal. Politicians from both parties had lined up in support of the multilateral trade deal and big pharma had secured robust sweetheart protections in the initial, highly secretive drafts. Instead of celebrating the final deal, however, those same politicians have spent the last month in retreat thanks in large part to a massive effort by a coalition of activists who beat back the TPP. At the heart of killing the TPP was the incredible momentum of advocates who refused to accept a deal that would have done more to undermine access to affordable medicines than any previous U.S. trade agreement.Read more
The coming year holds a series of major leadership changes that will determine the trajectory of the global HIV response for the foreseeable future. Given the size and scope of the global response, how much do individual leaders matter? We need only to look to the past to see the outsize influence strong leadership can have – and the vacuum created in its absence.Read more