Funders Concerned About AIDS Cites Concerns, Consequences of Recent U.S. Global Health Positions

President’s Budget and “Global Gag” Expansion Risk Rollback in Progress made against HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Washington, DC, May 25, 2017 – With this week’s release of the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget and the recent announcement of the expansion of the Global Gag Rule — a policy prohibiting abortion related activities among U.S. funded foreign NGOs — the U.S. Administration has proposed dramatic funding cuts and created significant roadblocks to domestic and global health programs.

Executive Director of Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA), John Barnes, expressed his concerns in the following statement:

“The President’s Budget, in combination with the US’ expansion of the ‘Global Gag’ rule, is a one, two punch that could roll back the enormous progress made against HIV and AIDS.

With its sharp decrease in funding for global health programs, the Trump administration’s budget for Fiscal Year 2018 puts progress against HIV and AIDS at serious risk. This comes at a critical juncture where we can either continue on the current, positive trajectory, or risk rolling back many of the gains made over the past several decades. Any cuts, let alone the drastic decreases outlined by this week’s budget request — more than $1 billion in cuts to global efforts as well deep cuts to Medicaid and the Ryan White Program, domestically — will not only stall, but very likely reverse progress. Of even greater concern, these cuts have the potential to further marginalize those key populations – such as sex workers, people who inject drugs, transgender people, and men who have sex with men – at most risk for HIV, and for whom access to treatment and social services is already woefully underfunded.

Rather than ‘protecting life,’ as president Trump has suggested the Global Gag Rule will do, it is far more likely to negatively impact public health and endanger the lives of people around the world. NGOs will have to choose between eliminating essential aspects of care or lose funding. Many will have to close their doors altogether, leaving entire communities without critical health resources.

Even prior to the proposed budget cuts and the expansion of the Global Gag Rule, many communities heavily impacted by HIV and AIDS were insufficiently funded. For example, middle-income countries are home to nearly 70 percent of the world’s people living with HIV, but do not receive proportional funding. The HIV-related death rate in the US is highest, by far, in the nine “deep South” states. Yet, due to poor infrastructure and lack of resources, this region is often unable to successfully compete for Federal funding. With the additional budget decrease, combined with resources taken away by the Global Gag Rule, more communities in need will find themselves unable to respond to the epidemic.

While it has historically played a critical role in fighting HIV and AIDS, private philanthropy alone cannot bridge the funding gap that will arise from these recent developments. While philanthropic funding to fight the epidemic increased 10 percent from 2014 to 2015, reaching $663 million, this amount does not come close to filling the chasm.

FCAA firmly believes that universal access to healthcare — including HIV treatment, prevention and care — is a fundamental human right. Further, resources allocated to HIV and AIDS are some of the most efficient and effective dollars that can be spent, paying enormous dividends in terms of public health, trade, economic security and leveraging capacity.

We can defeat AIDS, but we are far less likely to if the President’s proposed budget is approved and if the Global Gag Rule persists. At this time in the fight, we need increased funding from the government and the philanthropic sector, not cuts. Only through increased funding can we ensure that those fighting to end AIDS are given the support and resources necessary to be successful.”

About Funders Concerned About AIDS

Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) is the leading voice on philanthropic resources allocated to the global AIDS epidemic. It provides funders with the necessary data to make informed decisions related to allocating increased, focused HIV/AIDS resources.