An open letter seeking signatures from scientists and clinicians worldwide highlights directives, directions, policies, and proposed funding cuts from the Trump administration with impacts on evidence-based efforts to control and reverse the HIV pandemic.
The letter, circulated by Health GAP (Global Access Project), points to the administration’s reinstatement and expansion of the “Mexico City Policy,” that bars U.S. funding from any overseas program that provides any services or information to terminate pregnancies, or advocacy of safe abortion access, noting that it will affect the standard of health care and critical medical services for women both living with and at risk for HIV. It points to the administration’s proposal to radically cut funding to National Institutes of Health efforts to develop new needed medicines, diagnostics and prevention measures, and to build capacities to counter HIV in high-burden countries. And it points to the administration’s proposal to cut at $1.284 billion from global AIDS prevention and treatment programs, in the face of data showing that any hope of gaining control of the pandemic by 2030 demands greater investments now.
At home, the letter points to the recent establishment of the Department of Health and Human Services’ “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” that, it notes, will support health care providers who refuse care to patients.
Health GAP, a nonprofit organization of health and human rights activists, people living with HIV/AIDS and public health experts, plans to release the signed letter during the March 4 – March 7 international Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, which will draw researchers from around the world to Boston to share breaking developments, new study findings, and best research methods to counter HIV and related infectious diseases. The organization is seeking all endorsements by Sunday, March 4.
Check back — Science Speaks will be covering the conference live.