Recently, President Donald Trump released his budget report for 2019. The overall money slashes include cutting over $1 billion from various global HIV/AIDS funding.
The cuts including $40 million from the HIV/AIDS Prevention program at the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Instead, Trump proposes a new initiative to ‘jointly’ eliminate multiple infectious diseases.
Furthermore, there is a proposed $26 million cut to federal housing for people living with AIDS.
His biggest cuts, however, affect PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief), originally started by George W. Bush, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. The report cuts these programs, together, by $800 million.
This, despite Trump’s dedication to PEPFAR in his proclamation on World AIDS Day. These cuts are also worse than his earlier 17% proposed cuts to HIV funding.
As of 2015, around 1.1 million people were living with HIV in the United States.
Worldwide, the number is 36.7 million and only around 19 million were receiving medical treatment. In 2016, 1 million people died across the globe from AIDS-related illnesses.
According to a report by the ONE campaign, these proposed cuts could lead to 300,000 deaths and 1.75 million new infections each year.
The report also warns the cuts could ‘trigger a massive resurgence of the global epidemic’.
Carl Schmid, the Deputy Executive Director of the AIDS Institute, is hopeful legislators won’t accept the budget as it’s currently written.
‘Congress has soundly rejected these proposed cuts in the past and we trust they will do so again,’ he said in a statement.
Lack of empathy
Like many other programs, this is not the Trump administration’s first attack, but merely its latest.
The Republican healthcare bill poses great risks to the LGBTI community and those living with HIV.
More recently, Trump fired the entire Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS without warning. There still remains no plans for the council to be reinstated with new members.