Trump proposes cutting over $1 billion in global HIV and AIDS funding

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump unveiled his annual budget proposal on Monday (11 March). It includes $291 million for the national fight against HIV and AIDS — while cutting over $1 billion in similar funding on a global scale.

In the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2020, Trump allocated $291 million to the Department of Health and Human Services. This money is specifically allocated to end the transmission of HIV.

In his 2019 State of the Union address, Trump pledged to end new HIV transmissions in the US by 2030 — an announcement met with skepticism from many LGBTI groups.

‘My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years,’ Trump said. ‘Together, we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond.’

In the new proposal, however, Trump drastically cuts funding in the fight against HIV and AIDS ‘beyond’ the US.

‘Actions speak louder’

Trump’s budget includes $250 million cut from the Global Fund and a $1.5 billion cut to PEPFAR.

The Global Fund is an international financial organization focused on ending the epidemics of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

PEPFAR, meanwhile, is the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief. President George H.W. Bush and the Global Fund originally started this program together. According to reports, PEPFAR has helped treat and save the lives of more than 16 million people living with HIV as of 2018.

Trump also proposed cutting funding to PEPFAR last year.

Finally, Trump is also proposing cutting funding to Medicare and Medicaid. These two programs help low-income individuals, including those living with HIV.

In his proposal, Trump would cut $818 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years.

‘LGBTQ Americans were right to be skeptical about President Trump’s pledge to end HIV and AIDS and today’s budget revealed the truth: this administration is not serious about this fight,’ said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO at GLAAD.

‘Actions always speak louder than words, and the Trump Administration once again proved to people living with HIV – which includes LGBTQ Americans – that they simply cannot trust this President to do anything more than pay lip service.’

See also

Mike Pence’s new Chief of Staff: ‘Repugnant’ homosexual intercourse caused AIDS

Trump reinstates gag rule on healthcare for LGBTIs and women

Trump says he doesn’t know about plan to decriminalize homosexuality

Author: Anya Crittenton

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Venezuelan police raid offices of HIV and AIDS support group

Opposition rally Venezuela

Police in Venezuela raided the offices of HIV and AIDS services organization on Friday (15 February).

The International Council for AIDS Service Organizations [ICASO] confirmed that the authorities had forcibly entered the group’s offices in the city of Valencia in Carabobo state.

The police reportedly seized infant formula and medications for HIV and AIDS treatment, The Washington Blade reports.

Early reports said that three activists were arrested during the raid.

In an ICASO press release, Alberto Nieves, executive director of Acción Ciudadana Contra el SIDA, said: ‘We are scared for the safety of our activists and call upon the global community to help us — not just us, but the people of Venezuela living with HIV.’

‘A very serious situation’

People diagnosed with HIV and AIDS have been greatly affected by the political and economic crisis which continues to engulf Venezuela.

300,000 bottles of antiretroviral drug Tenofovir, Lamivudine and Dolutegravir (TLD) were shipped to the country by the Pan-American Health Organization Strategic Fund between December and January.

However, HIV and AIDS advocacy groups have said that the life-saving medication has not left the military warehouse where it is being stored in.

HIV and AIDS support group Fundación Mavid has written to the Venezuelan government demanding an explanation, adding that ‘millions and millions of pills of antiretroviral drugs are stored and withheld without justification’.

President of Fundación Mavid, Eduardo Franco said that the advocacy groups were caught in ‘a very serious situation’.

Deepening political and economic crisis

The country’s political and economic problems do not show any signs of abating.

President Nicolás Maduro has faced international condemnation for his handling of the crisis.

Last month, National Assembly President Juan Guaidó declared himself as president, gaining the support of a number of countries, including the US.

In recent years, millions of Venezuelans have migrated to neighboring Columbia to escape the crisis in their home country.

People with HIV and AIDS in Venezuela are facing serious threats due to lack of available antiretroviral drugs, The Washington Blade reported earlier this week.

In some cases, this has led to the deaths of those who were unable to access the necessary medication to treat their condition.

Author: Calum Stuart

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Condom fashion show promotes safer sex in India

Condom fashion show in India (Photo: Gay Star News)

Safer sex campaigners launched a condom fashion gallery in India on Wednesday (13 February).

Students of Mumbai’s Pearl Academy created outfits using condoms for an event in Thane, Maharashtra State.

Organizers also hosted a ‘my best friend’ condom selfie booth and a pop-up HIV testing site.

Led by Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) India, NGOs promoted the message ’safer is sexy’ and encouraged people to pledge to use a condom in events across the country.

There were 2.1 million people living with HIV in India in 2017 and 88,000 new infections, according to Avert.

About 2.7% of men who have sex with men were HIV positive.

Last year, India’s Supreme Court dismantled a colonial-era anti-gay law and decriminalized gay sex.

HIV and AIDS advocates welcomed it as an important step in combatting India’s epidemic.

Always in fashion

AHF introduced International Condom Day, celebrated on the day before valentine’s day each year, to promote safer sex.

Last year, AHF launched the theme ‘always in fashion’ to promote condom usage.

‘In more ways than one, condoms are fashion-forward,’ said Albert Ruiz of AHF.

‘They make a statement about your priorities: that you care about your health and that of your partner’.

‘They also express who you are: with hundreds of sizes, textures, colors and flavors, you can stick with what you like or change it up every time’.

Author: Rik Glauert

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