The Obama administration’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, released today, includes stagnant funding for global HIV/AIDS programs and continued support for the Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB, and Malaria.
The proposed budget includes $4.35 billion for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — the same amount allocated under fiscal year 2014.
With dried up pipeline funding, and continued flat funding, the proposed budget leaves in question how PEPFAR will scale up treatment and other life-saving HIV/AIDS services and fulfill the goals set out in the Blueprint for an AIDS-Free Generation, according to advocates.
Advocates notes that funding for PEPFAR has seen a cut of $500 million since 2011.
“Given the opportunities to turn the trajectory of the global HIV epidemic, and the continuing unmet need for treatment, the President’s PEPFAR budget request is disappointing and shortsighted,” said Christine Lubinski, Vice President for Global Health at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, which produces this blog. “Flat funding would stall scale up of treatment and other potent interventions, and this translates to more deaths and new infections. We will work with Congress to improve on this unacceptable proposal.”
The budget allows $1.35 billion for the Global Fund, with an extra $300 million in reserve to be added to the U.S. Global Fund contribution if other nations step up their contributions. Under law, the U.S. can contribute no more than one-third of the total amount raised by the Global Fund, and with countries pledging just over $4 billion during December’s replenishment period, the U.S. cannot contribute their pledged $1.65 billion until a total of $5 billion is raised. The Global Fund is hopeful that more countries will contribute over the coming months. It is unclear where the $300 million will go if Global Fund pledges don’t increase.
“We are pleased that the budget shows a continuing commitment to the Global Fund,” said Lubinski.
Although the National Institutes of Health has seen a slight increase of roughly one percent in proposed funding, of $200 million, in real terms it’s a cut for research due to medical inflation. In a statement, the HIV Medicine Association writes that the slight increase “is woefully inadequate to reverse years of damage done by flat funding for biomedical research. Adjusted for inflation, the NIH budget has dropped by approximately 15 percent in the decade spanning FY 2004 and FY 2014.”
Stay tuned for further analysis on global tuberculosis funding.