This year marks a turning point for people living with HIV/AIDS and for those working to end the pandemic. Decades of increased funding coupled with programmatic changes made in light of evidence that treatment is prevention have been hugely effective. And it is the United States that has done more than any other nation to make this belief a reality. But today, two of our greatest tools, PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, face crippling cuts.
Over the last ten years PEPFAR and the Global Fund have shifted the tide in the fight against HIV. They support nearly 5 million people on antiretroviral therapy. More than 200,000 new infections have been prevented in children born to HIV-positive mothers. In Kenya, for example, support of programs has made it the first high-prevalence country to reach the tipping point: last month the ratio of new infections to new ART enrollees was 1:1, marking the beginning of the end of AIDS in that country.
But these victories will prove only transient if AIDS funding is not explicitly protected during ongoing debates about sequestration and spending cuts. There exists real, human impact to potential cuts, both domestically and globally.
We know you have been a supporter of global health initiatives in the past, and we sincerely hope this letter convinces you of the need for action. Full funding of the Global Fund and PEPFAR will account for less than 0.2% of the federal budget for FY2013; this leads us, as Duke students and registered voters of North Carolina, to strongly believe that both programs should be fully funded. Any decrease in funding will take us further from our goal of an AIDS-free generation. Will you ensure that the United States fulfills its pledge to create an AIDS-free generation by speaking to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Foreign Operations Sub-Committee of Appropriations and requesting that we fund the Global Fund at $1.65 billion and PEPFAR at $4.243 billion in 2013?
Every generation is known for something. Let’s be the one that delivers an AIDS-free generation. Thank you very much for your time and your service.