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U.S. News

Foundation Warns Proposed U.S. Budget Cuts Could Result in More Infant HIV Infections

March 1, 2011

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is urging the Senate and President Obama to reject recent House-passed budget cuts to foreign aid programs that fight HIV. The House of Representatives approved a measure that would cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

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"The proposed budget cuts have very real implications of life and death in large numbers," said Charles Lyons, president and CEO of EGPAF, which operates programs to prevent mother-to-child (MTC) HIV transmission, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

If the cuts become law, PEPFAR estimates as many as 100,000 fewer pregnant HIV-positive women could access MTC HIV prevention services, said Lyons. That could lead to at least 20,000 HIV-infected infants, with up to half dying before their second birthday, he said. Pediatric antiretroviral treatment would be "just a far, far greater cost," he noted, compared to $145-$600 for MTC HIV prevention drugs and follow-up.

The proposed cuts "don't make economic sense," Lyons said. "They don't make political sense. I don't think they make moral sense."

MTC HIV prevention access has grown from just 15 percent of women worldwide to 53 percent, according to PEPFAR. "That is tremendous, steady, sustainable progress that is threatened by these proposed cuts," Lyons said. "For the last eight, nine years, PEPFAR -- started by President [George W.] Bush -- has led the world in services to fight HIV and AIDS. The PEPFAR program is one of those in foreign assistance that truly enjoys bipartisan support."

Back to other news for March 2011

Adapted from:
Voice of America News
02.22.2011; Joe DeCapua


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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More News on U.S. Financial Aid for HIV in the Developing World
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