Nationwide, health experts, leaders, front-liners urge lawmakers: Let PEPFAR reach its goals!

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capitolWith the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief slated for a third consecutive funding cut under the Obama administration’s budget proposal for the coming year, 629 health professionals from across the United States signed onto letter sent to Congressional leaders today asking them to enable the 10-year-old program to achieve its purpose.

“As physicians, scientists, educators, and nurses, we have marveled at the rapid pace of scientific developments to respond to the greatest infectious disease threat of our time,” the letter says. The letter warns that failure to fund PEPFAR adequately now will reverse the gains those scientific advances have brought.

The letter is signed by health professionals from 40 states — From Alaska to Florida, with 162 signers from Senate Appropriation Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski’s home state, Maryland, home to Johns Hopkins University where advances at research centers and a school of public health have bolstered PEPFAR efforts.

The letter points to the estimated 7 million people needing treatment for HIV who still are not receiving it, as well as the expectation that new World Health Organization guidelines will highlight the advisability of treating millions more. The letter also points to the promise of the PEPFAR Blueprint, released by former Secretary of State Clinton in December, laying out steps to achieve an “AIDS-free Generation.”

The letter is addressed to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski, Ranking Member Richard Shelby, Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations Chair Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Lindsay Graham, House Appropriations Committee Chair Harold Rogers, Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations Chair Kay Granger, and Appropriations Committee  and State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Nita Lowey.

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