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13 December 2018, 13:48
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PEPFAR Program to Fight HIV/AIDS will be extended

PEPFAR Program to Fight HIV/AIDS will be extended - picture 1

Washington was unanimously adopted by Congress and signed by US President Donald Trump to extend the country's largest program to combat HIV / AIDS PEPFAR.

As the Vox portal notes, this was not a trivial bill on “renaming something”, but a really important initiative that confirmed, until 2023, the work of the President’s Emergency Plan on AIDS-related assistance.

PEPFAR annually allocates billions of dollars to finance and provide technical support for antiretroviral treatment, HIV prevention among MSM and other key (vulnerable) groups, and also provides assistance in many other areas related to HIV treatment and prevention around the world.

PEPFAR is one of the most effective government programs in American history. Studies examining its impact on the AIDS crisis abroad show that this program saved the lives of at least one million people and did so with minimal cost.

It is also surprising that PEPFAR is the main government program, which most often does not cause doubts and complaints. Religious conservatives love it, and the launch of the initiative, as is known, was carried out by the president George W. Bush, who does not hide his religious views. Later, even the most passionate member of the House of Representatives from the anti-abortion coalition, Chris Smith, sponsored the program when it was restarted in 2008.

However, not only conservatives worked on the establishment and development of PEPFAR. Prominent representatives of liberal and progressive circles of the Congress have succeeded in this field. Among them, for example, was Barbara Lee, a member of the House of Representatives from Auckland and Berkeley, who became famous after being the only one in Congress who refused to endorse a resolution allowing President Bush to use military force after the September 11 attacks.

It is important to note that, despite the considerable pressure from the Trump administration (funding proposals are reflected in the diagram), the so-called “two-way” support from PEPFAR, funds from which go to help other countries, has been generally maintained.

The administration, however, has weakened the program with its policy in Mexico. Speech about the order which demands from NPO with which the USA work abroad, certifying that they are not engaged in propagation of abortions. Historically, under presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, this policy has been applied to the funds of the US Agency for International Development, but J. Bush, Jr. very clearly defined the boundaries of PEPFAR, canceling this rule for it.

President Trump, in response, expanded the scope of the order to include PEPFAR. The consequences of this are likely to be negative.

We add that, according to Cates, there is still a significant gap in funding efforts to combat HIV / AIDS. The current confirmation of the work of the program was, of course, a great achievement of the two-party system. However, increased funding would also provide additional support.

When PEPFAR started, she explains, “hardly anyone got antiretroviral treatment. First of all, it is thanks to this program and the Global Fund that about half of people with HIV receive treatment worldwide.”

Author: Marina Shegay

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