In his first budget, President Trump proposed $1 billion in cuts to global AIDS programs that save lives and spread American values. Senator Lindsey Graham has the power not only to fight those cuts, but also to champion increased funding for life-saving global AIDS programs. Senator Graham has been an ally for people with HIV – but we need him now, more than ever to stand up and do what’s right: millions of lives depend on it.
What’s at stake in this budget?
President Trump’s global AIDS budget would be deadly for people with HIV. The human impact of these deep budget cuts include:
- 1 million avoidable AIDS-related deaths
- 1 million fewer people with HIV on life-saving treatment
- Up to 280,000 new HIV infections
- More than 30,000 maternal, newborn, and child deaths
What can Senator Graham do to stop this?
Senator Graham can be the champion we need. In a Congressional hearing this week, he called Trump’s global health budget proposal “radical and reckless.” Now, South Carolinians and Americans concerned about global AIDS are calling on Senator Graham to reject President Trump’s deadly cuts and instead increase funding for highly-effective, life-saving global AIDS programs.
Sen. Graham has been a big proponent of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in his role as chair of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He has been standing up on behalf of people living with HIV for years, and now is the time to make that extra step.
Senator Graham should propose a $700 million increase to PEPFAR. This increase will keep us on track to end the global AIDS epidemic by 2030. If we don’t act now, we will lose this window of opportunity.
Senator Graham knows that PEPFAR supports people who need it, and generates returns on taxpayers’ investment that have been paying dividends since the start of the highly effective program. A major reason he supports PEPFAR is because he knows the money and resources go to people who need it, not bureaucrats. Graham rightly believes this is an investment in national security, raising generations of young people in Africa who have a positive view of the United States. He says that by supporting vulnerable communities abroad, we are making those communities stronger, and less likely to be lead into extremist groups which offer protection and power. He has said of global AIDS funding that, “[PEPFAR] is a great example of Republicans and Democrats doing something great for the country.”
We’re asking him to stand up for people with HIV and help shape the budget into one that invests in our lives and our future.
The HIV Epidemic Today
HIV is still a crisis for millions of people around the world. After more than 35 million AIDS-related deaths, we are on the cusp of ending one of the deadliest epidemics in world history, but only if the U.S. and Congress remains steadfast in their commitment to treat people living with HIV and support highly-effective programs that help prevent new infections.
Today, 37 million people are living with HIV. Approximately 19 million of them still do not have access to life-saving HIV treatment. PEPFAR, formed in 2003 by President George W. Bush at activists’ urging, is widely seen as one of the most effective and strategic programs the U.S. has ever undertaken, and was even praised by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in his own confirmation hearing.
PEPFAR provides treatment to one in four people with HIV around the world and has prevented countless new infections. Combined with its investment in global health made through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is credited with saving more than 20 million lives, the United States has a deeply rooted bipartisan commitment to global HIV treatment and prevention. However, without urgently needed funding increases from Congress, countries will not be able to scale up life saving treatment and prevention programs in order to achieve epidemic control.
HIV treatment is saving lives, and giving us the opportunity to end the AIDS epidemic. In addition to keeping people healthy and allowing them to live normal lives, HIV treatment suppresses the virus, making HIV virtually impossible to transmit. Globally, infection rates are decreasing. Developing countries are contributing 50% or more (and growing) of funding for the fight against AIDS in their own countries. People are living full, healthy lives on sustained treatment. It’s common sense to fully fund the fight to end AIDS, and Congress agrees.
South Carolinians Fight Global AIDS – who are we, why we care
We are “South Carolina Fights Global AIDS,” a coalition of Senator Graham’s constituents including people living with HIV/AIDS, students, AIDS service providers, Christians, and concerned individuals who want to ensure all people everywhere have access to life-saving treatment and prevention for HIV/AIDS. We are committed to ending the epidemic in our lifetimes.
We are calling on our Senator to be a champion and to fight for increased funding for global AIDS programs because like us, he has shown commitment to protecting and expanding US funding to end the global AIDS epidemic. Saving millions of people from preventable death around the globe is the right thing to do–South Carolinian voters are calling for it.
We are an intergenerational group that has seen the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the on-the-ground life-saving impact of U.S. intervention and aid, and the current HIV epidemic in our own country. Untreated HIV is unacceptable anywhere in the world when we have a way to end the epidemic. We have the science to end the AIDS crisis. We lack the political will from Congress. We are asking Senator Graham to continue his leadership on this critical issue – and to be even stronger in the difficult days ahead.
To learn more or get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.