More than 200 HIV scientists and researchers have expressed their united concern, following drastic cuts being proposed for a major global AIDS Program by United States President Donald Trump.
In an open letter recently made public on the final day of the annual Conference on Retroviruses & Opportunistic Infections in Boston, the co-signers all agree that they are “gravely concerned” about reductions to global AIDS programs in the FY-19 budget request.
“Science shows us that we can defeat HIV, but not if we defy evidence,” the letter explains.
“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.”
Trump’s proposed budget calls for varying reductions to domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs, however, the global initiatives outside of the United States will be hit with the majority of the cuts.
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, (known as PEPFAR), would see a reduction of 17 percent compared to its current existing funding levels, a drop to down from $3.85 billion from $4.65 billion.
Contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria would be cut an unjustifiable and inhibiting 31 percent, with the current level of funding sitting at $1.35 billion, and Trump’s request calling for a reduction to $925 million in funds.
When calculated together, Trump’s budget will cut at least $1.23 billion to global HIV programs, a move that is in clear contrast to the recommendation of scientists and specialists across multiple fields who says a “surge in global AIDS funding is needed” to control the epidemic by 2030.
The White House has deferred comment on the letter to the Office of Management & Budget, which is yet to reply with any comment.