President Obama's Pledge to the Global Fund Falls Far Short Even of Austerity Forecasts? 5/10/10

Health GAP expressed profound disappointment today with the $4 billion, 3-year pledge by President Obama

5 October 2010

Health GAP expressed profound disappointment today with the $4 billion, 3-year pledge by President Obama to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).

We are alarmed that this contribution fails to meet even the U.S. share of the ?austerity? scenario projected by the Global Fund. The President had the opportunity to lead the world toward sufficient funding for AIDS and failed to do so. Heroes in Congress have fought hard to increase the U.S. pledge to sufficient levels?with 101 members of the President?s own party asking him to make a $6 billion pledge. It is unfortunate this President?the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize?failed to respond to their call to support multilateralism.

The Global Fund is the largest multilateral funder for the three diseases, and has supported programs have already saved nearly 6 million lives. We are gravely concerned that this pledge?unless increased with $1 billion in additional funding?will mean that the Global Fund will have to virtually halt scale up in the fight against the three diseases, and turn away high quality proposals for life saving HIV treatment and prevention scale up.

This failure to adequately contribute to the Global Fund will harm and could reverse extraordinary progress made in fighting the AIDS pandemic. Despite the pledge by world leaders to provide universal access to treatment by 2010, only one third (5.25 million) of the 15 million people in urgent clinical need of life saving HIV treatment currently have access.

Over the past 10 years, the US has helped lead impressive progress in scaling up HIV prevention and treatment, and we can now say with confidence that it is possible to win the fight against AIDS. We know now that with adequate funding, millions of lives could be saved with HIV treatment, and tens of millions of new infections could be prevented. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV could be virtually eliminated.

Investing now means saving billions of dollars later?because of averted infections, and the ability to start HIV positive people on less toxic regimens, earlier, when treatment is more likely to have a long lasting effect. Treatment allows people to live full lives, to hold jobs and care for their children. Research proves that HIV treatment significantly reduces the risk of HIV transmission?with one study of African couples showing a 92% reduction in transmission among HIV positive people who were taking HIV treatment.

We demand that President Obama to live up to his campaign promises by pledging $50 billion for 5 years to fight global AIDS, including contributing the U.S. fair share to the Global Fund?which means an additional $1 billion over the period of the replenishment (2011-2013). This will also leverage commitments from other donor countries, since historically every dollar contributed by the US to the Global Fund has leveraged three additional dollars from other donors.

In addition to fully funding the Global Fund, we call on President Obama to support a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) for health, which is already widely supported by other governments, including Germany and France. For example, a minor 0.005% tax on wholesale currency transactions and could raise $33 billion a year for global health and climate change. Even in this time of economic crisis, President Obama has found billions to bail out Wall Street and to continue wars?we urge him to find a way to do the same to save lives around the world.

We do not want Mr. Obama to be the president who chose not to defeat AIDS when it was possible?we want him to be the president who put us on track to defeat AIDS.

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