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Trump Administration Should Expand Funding For PEPFAR, Other ‘Effective Global Health Programs’

STAT: ‘Beautiful babies’ will die without global HIV funding
C. Nicholas Cuneo, resident physician in internal medicine and pediatrics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Boston Medical Center

“…As the national debate unfolds regarding the merits of [the Syrian] air strike, George W. Bush … is devoting his time to asking Congress to continue supporting the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), arguably his greatest public health legacy. This flagship program has pioneered HIV prevention efforts and provided essential medications and health care to people living with HIV … around the globe. … By paying to test pregnant women for HIV and getting them onto lifesaving drugs that also prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child … PEPFAR averts thousands of infant infections each year and more than 1.5 million since 1995. Given the high mortality rates of infants with HIV, that translates into thousands upon thousands of children who owe their lives and futures to the program. If Congress makes cuts to PEPFAR, more of these avoidable deaths will occur — deaths that will be no less horrific than those that compelled Trump to act in Syria. … Cutting funding from indispensable programs like PEPFAR, which are already working effectively to save innocent lives worldwide, while lobbying to divert public funds into the machinery of war to be wielded abroad in the name of preventing bloodshed, represents the height of hypocrisy. If Trump truly wants to save the world’s beautiful babies, he should expand, not decrease, funding for PEPFAR and other effective global health programs” (4/13).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.