Media Contact:Lauren Fisher
WASHINGTON, (1 December 2011) — As we approach World AIDS Day, life-saving funding is under attack from multiple fronts, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. One of the world’s biggest donors, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria cancelled its next round of funding, because it couldn’t secure enough donations. Meanwhile in the United States, AIDS funding has been hit by the budget crunch, a combined threat that could undo important progress in fighting the disease.
“It will be a tragedy if the U.S. backs down from its life-saving promises on AIDS. Millions of lives have been saved and children's lives touched because of these programs,” said Robert Zachritz, World Vision U.S.'s senior director of Advocacy. “The bipartisan consensus around AIDS has been a success story of how U.S. foreign aid should work -- fueling real results like the 'Lazarus Effect' of people re-emerging from deadly illness to lead healthy and productive lives thanks to treatment. It should be preserved and expanded -- not cut.”
Significant progress is at risk. According to a recent United Nations report, new HIV infections have been reduced by 21% since 1997, and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses decreased by 21% since 2005. Hundreds of thousands of children have been born without HIV thanks to preventative maternal care. For the first time, leaders in the field are talking in terms of a generation free of HIV.
These successes are thanks in large part to funding from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which would be hit by the proposed budget cuts. The Super Committee’s failure to reach an agreement on November 23rd will likely activate an across-the-board 10 percent cut to government funding, including life-saving humanitarian and global health accounts. Following current-year reductions, that could represent as much as 40 percent less funding for certain humanitarian accounts compared with fiscal year 2010.
In terms of human lives, estimates show just a 10 percent cut in U.S. global AIDS funding would mean:
(Sources: estimates are from the American Foundation for AIDS Research)
World Vision began its AIDS response in 1990 in hard-hit Rakai Uganda and in Romania, and expanded its efforts globally a decade ago through its Hope Initiative, reaching vulnerable communities and households through education, prevention and home-based care for orphans and the chronically ill. In the U.S., World Vision reached out to communities across the country with its interactive "Experience: AIDS" exhibit illustrating the impact of HIV on children and their families. Now, World Vision is on the frontlines of the fight against HIV/AIDS around the world, working in public-private partnerships and with faith leaders of all religions in prevention and care for orphans and vulnerable children and people living with AIDS.
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Photos as well as on-the-ground interviews with our staff in the region and in the United States are available upon request. Please contact Lauren Fisher (+1.206.310.5476)
About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit www.worldvision.org/press.