Senator Robert Menendez (D – NJ): Support Reauthorization of PEPFAR with Increased Funding for Treatment
As the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – the important global AIDS program responsible for saving millions of lives – faces reauthorization again this year, we need to get loud and tell Senator Robert Menendez (D – New Jersey), Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, that he must support the reauthorization of PEPFAR with increased funding for treatment.
The PEPFAR global AIDS program has been a resounding success, providing lifesaving AIDS treatment to over 5 million people, preventing millions of new HIV infections, and providing care to over 4.5 million orphans and vulnerable children.
Now this success is under threat: Only 4 of the 33 PEPFAR Partnership countries are treating more than 50% of their population living with HIV/AIDS; PEPFAR funding for treatment, as a percentage of total funds, has been steadily declining, currently representing only 25% of total funds; and there are widespread reports of capping treatment and even closing clinics. If we are finally going to turn the tide on the AIDS epidemic, PEPFAR must prioritize and incentivize getting as many people into treatment as possible.
In order to make these important changes to this crucial program, Congress must first reauthorize PEPFAR with clear, unshakeable allocations for treatment funding. As a representative whose position offers great influence for U.S. international policy, Chairman Menendez’s support of PEPFAR reauthorization is essential to its passage and the inclusion of dedicated funding for medication.
PEPFAR-supported clinics and patients worldwide have already experienced enough instability with the closure of treatment centers due to yearly budget cuts within the program, which threatens treatment regimens – and ultimately risks lives. Tell Senator Menendez that now is not the time to retreat on the U.S. commitment to the global AIDS fight – he must support the reauthorization of PEPFAR!
Send this petition to Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, urging him to reauthorize PEPFAR this year with needed changes to ensure that the program saves money while helping finally end the AIDS epidemic.
Want to get louder? Call Senator Menendez at 202.224.4744 and say:
"Hi, my name is ______ and I’m calling to support the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and I urge Congressman Menendez to reauthorize the program this year with a re-emphasis on AIDS treatment and cost efficiency.
If we are finally going to turn the tide on the AIDS epidemic, PEPFAR must prioritize getting as many people on treatment as possible. If we do this, we can more than double the number of people on treatment without spending any additional funds.
I strongly urge Senator Menendez to keep the promise on AIDS, and to reauthorize PEPFAR this year.
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We cannot simply wait for the world to change – we must act up, speak out, and be heard.
I am concerned about the future of the PEPFAR program and the United States’ commitment to fighting AIDS around the world. In your role as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I urge you to reauthorize PEPFAR this year with needed changes to ensure that the program saves money while helping finally end the AIDS epidemic.
In the five years since the last reauthorization of PEPFAR, it has been learned that the most effective way to prevent new HIV infections is “test and treat” – find those people living with HIV/AIDS, and get them into treatment. This is because people with HIV/AIDS receiving treatment are up to 96% noninfectious, and studies have shown that large scale up of treatment can have a dramatic effect on reducing infections. There are also real world examples. Both Cambodia and Guyana, which have over 50% of their citizens with HIV/AIDS on treatment, are on track to eliminate HIV infections in their countries by 2020.
However, despite this knowledge and the undisputed evidence that it works, PEPFAR is not prioritizing treatment:
· Only 4 of the 33 PEPFAR Partnership countries are treating more than 50% of their population with HIV/AIDS. Some countries spend as little as 15% of PEPFAR funding on AIDS drugs.
· PEPFAR funding for treatment, as a percentage of total funds, has been steadily declining, and now represents only 25% of current funds.
· There are widespread reports of capping treatment and even closing clinics.
If we are finally going to turn the tide on the AIDS epidemic, PEPFAR must prioritize and incentivize getting as many people on treatment as possible. To do this, I strongly urge you to reauthorize the program with a requirement that 75% of funding be spent on test and treat and for PEPFAR to reduce its per patient costs. If we do this, we can more than double the number of people on treatment without spending any additional funds.
I look forward to your leadership on this urgent global health issue.
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