During the last two presidential administrations, we have taken a stand to champion the historic funding to fight the HIV/AIDS global pandemic. When we began in 2002, less than 50,000 people who were victims of HIV in Sub Saharan Africa had access to anti-retro viral medications. Today, because of the legislation of PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, over 17 million people have access to the medicines which have saved their lives. We are proud that the United States has been the international cornerstone leader of this funding as a moral response, a charitable response, and a response based on smart power— national security, foreign policy, and economic reasons.
While U.S. foreign assistance comprises less than 1 percent of the federal budget, programs such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Feed the Future, and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) have saved and improved the lives of tens of millions. For example, U.S. leadership has helped to cut in half global under-five child deaths over the last twenty-five years, and in the last ten years alone the U.S. has led efforts to provide AIDS treatment to more than 15 million patients and to reduce malaria deaths by 75 percent in many of the hardest hit countries.
President Donald Trump’s vow to put “America first” includes a plan to drastically cut assistance to developing countries and merge the State Department with USAID, according to an internal budget document and sources.

The administration’s March budget proposal vowed to slash aid to developing countries by over one-third, but contained few details. According to a detailed 15-page State Department budget document obtained by Foreign Policy, the overhaul also includes rechanneling funding from development assistance into a program that is tied closely to national security objectives.
Tuesday, April 25, is World Malaria Day. Malaria is an infectious disease claiming the lives of now 429,000 people each year – mostly children.

Living in the South most of my life, I am all too familiar with the annoyance of mosquitos, especially in the evening. But I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to live with mosquitoes beyond annoyance; an insect bite that might mean the death of my sweet little boy. Millions of mothers and fathers face that fear around the globe year after year, whereby malaria claims the life of one child every two minutes.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reportedly bought time “to do a deeper analysis of foreign aid” in the face of President Trump’s proposal to slash funding for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The proposed cuts of 30 percent or more are the product of an “America First” budget that frames the issue of foreign assistance as a choice between nation-building at home and nation-building abroad.
It is clear that the generosity of the American people has had a huge impact — one that reflects the view that all lives are precious, and to whom much is given, much is required. This lifesaving work also has a practical purpose for Americans. Societies mired in disease breed hopelessness and despair, leaving people ripe for recruitment by extremists. When we confront suffering — when we save lives — we breathe hope into devastated populations, strengthen and stabilize society, and make our country and the world safer.
President Trump’s proposed budget would have a profound negative impact on the health of people around the world – including those in both our country and our state. The administration’s proposed budget makes significant cuts to global health and development funding, including an 18 percent cut to the Health and Human Services budget, a 29 percent cut to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In President Trump’s proposed budget, there’s a $54 billion bump in military spending. U.S. foreign aid would be cut by 28 percent. Global health spending beyond AIDS, malaria and vaccines will suffer.

This type of foreign aid, according to many U.S. policymakers and military leaders, increases soft power, or the global influence the United States has because it supports basic human rights and humanitarian causes. Emma-Louise Anderson and I show this payoff for the United States among people living with HIV in Zambia and Malawi.

Read the rest of the article on The Washington Post

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