Below is an open letter seeking wide-scale support from scientists, researchers, and clinicians responding to the AIDS epidemic in the US and around the world. The letter challenges the deterioration of evidence-based policymaking under President Trump. Please complete your endorsement below or send to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, March 4, 2018 to facilitate dissemination at the upcoming Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston, Massachusetts.
We, the undersigned, are HIV clinicians, researchers and scientists responding to the AIDS epidemics around the world and in the U.S.
We are gravely concerned by President Trump's pursuit of policies that are out of step with evidence. The most recent examples include:
President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget proposal to the U.S. Congress that contains at least $1.284 billion in cuts to life saving global HIV programs, when no less than $850 million in additional funding is needed for PEPFAR, and a full $1.35 billion in funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Analyses by UNAIDS show that a surge in global AIDS funding is needed now, in order to accelerate treatment and prevention and attain control of the epidemic by 2030.
Reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City Policy, now called "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance." This policy blocks U.S. funding for non-U.S. organizations that use non-U.S. government sources of funding to provide abortion counseling or referrals, advocate to decriminalize abortion or expand abortion services. Expansion of this policy to include PEPFAR and all other health development assistance will reduce the standard of sexual and reproductive care provided to women living with and at risk for HIV.
The establishment of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division at the Department of Health and Human Services, and the proposed rule regarding "Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care," an Executive action that, if enacted, would provide license for health care providers to discriminate against their patients.
Proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health, specifically the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Fogarty International Center, which if enacted would slow urgently needed HIV basic and implementation research and impair work to build research capacity in partner nations to fight HIV.
Science shows us that we can defeat HIV, but not if we defy evidence.
President Trump’s misguided budget proposal, and his Administration’s attempts to scale up policies in defiance of evidence will only undermine the global AIDS response and should be stopped.