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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

GLOBAL: Doctors Without Borders Alarmed over Plans to Cut US AIDS Program


Voice of America (04.10.12) - Monday, April 16, 2012

The Obama administration's proposed cut to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program is "problematic" and could have a "chilling effect" worldwide, said Jennifer Cohn, Doctors Without Borders' (DWB) policy advisor for East Africa.

Obama's budget for fiscal year 2013 cuts more than a half- billion dollars from PEPFAR - about 13 percent of its current funding. In an official blog post in February, Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby said the administration is "freeing up resources by reducing programs in countries with a lower HIV prevalence," like Ethiopia and Kenya. According to analyses by DWB, that translates to a 50 percent cut to Kenya and 82 percent for Ethiopia.

PEPFAR senior advisor Tom Walsh said all budget discussions are preliminary, though some country allocations are certain to change. Furthermore, the program is benefitting from a "dramatic gain in efficiency," and the 2013 amount proposed is realistic, he said. "Over the years, we've gotten the cost of treating an individual person per year with antiretroviral therapy down from about $1,100 in 2004 to $335 in 2011," he added.

However, Cohn said DWB is concerned not only about the proposed cut, but also with the way PEPFAR counts the number of people it assists. "What we're finding is actually that whereas PEPFAR is not necessarily directly supporting people on treatment in certain countries, they're actually counting those people toward the 6 million people they promise to put on treatment by 2013, so we find that concerning and somewhat disingenuous," she said, citing a recent program report from Malawi.

"In every country there's a different combination of resources that it takes to deliver treatment," said Walsh.


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Information in this article was accurate in April 16, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.