Donald Trump Hopes To Cut $350 Million From HIV/AIDS Budget
If he gets his way, Trump and his administration hope to slash $18 billion from the federal budget, pulling a critical $350 million in funding for HIV/AIDS research, alone.
In the proposed budget, Trump hopes to chop $242 million from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), an initiative founded under President George W. Bush, and then carried on by President Barack Obama.
Although the White House claims it will "maintain current commitments," and that the Trump administration simply hopes to end "less effective HIV research," activists warn that the move will negatively impact the global effort to combat the virus.
The proposed budget document states:
“This reduction would achieve savings by requiring PEPFAR to begin slowing the rate of new patients on treatment in FY 17, by reducing support to low-performing countries, by reducing lower-priority prevention programs, or by identifying new efficiencies or other savings.”
The budget calls for another $50 million to be cut from the domestic HIV/AIDS budget, in addition to another $50 million to be cut from the CDC's Global HIV/AIDS program.
“This reduction would eliminate less effective HIV research and prevention activities and accelerate reductions proposed in FY 2018.”
Ironically, it was Trump’s appointed Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. who just recently sang the praises of PEPFAR in his confirmation hearing, calling it “one of the most extraordinarily successful programs."
“I saw it up close and personal, and I know that PEPFAR has broadly brought so much goodwill from Africa, recognition of the goodwill and the compassionate nature of the American people.
“[PEPFAR] is one of the best projections of compassion… that I think that you will ever find, and it is broadly recognized by the leaders, and more importantly, recognized by those who it touches.”