Despite a commitment made by President Obama on December 1, 2011, his 2014 budget proposal puts funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEFPAR), the foreign assistance program that provides much of the world's access to lifesaving AIDS medication and services, near record lows.
The budget that he presented to Congress continues last year's pre-sequester level for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in the amount of $1.65 billion--an important step for this life-saving 3-disease international program. However, the budget proposes just over $4 billion for the bilateral US program, PEPFAR--about $70 million less than Congress passed last year (pre-sequestration).
Reaching the President's promise of an AIDS Free Generation and his smart analysis that spending now will save billions in the long run by halting new infections does not match up with this budget. To reach the tipping point in the epidemic we need to expand programs in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and many other countries, but now PEPFAR will not have the funds to do so.
We are grateful that the President's budget includes increases for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, but both of these programs work together. We can't fully fund one with cash from the other and actually make progress towards an AIDS free generation.
A study released in 2011, called HPTN 052, showed that AIDS treatment was 96% effective in preventing the spread of HIV. This led the U.S. to change it's official policy to seek an "AIDS free generation" on November 8, 2011. AIDS activists had hoped that the change in official policy would be illustrated in the budget. President Obama needs to put his money where his mouth is.