HIV and Trump: Funding cuts may cost lives

By Lindsey Baldwin, President of Student Global Aids Campaign (SGAC)

    As an activist working in the current political climate, I like to stress the fact that HIV/AIDs is not an issue of the past, but one of the present, as we work to prevent it from being an issue of the future. HIV/AIDS is still very much a relevant issue, and PEPFAR (The Presidential Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief), a program begun by President George W. Bush and continued by President Obama, is currently is danger of being cut, which will cost millions of people their lives and result in millions of children being born with HIV. Rather than cutting it, we need to increase it, by $667 million in each of the next three years. This increase is small, when we consider it against other government expenditures. Consider, for example, the fact that the US government will spend $300 million this year on a single person- First Lady Melania Trump, in order to provide additional security in New York City because of her personal choice not to move to the White House.

    As we continue to choose which issues we will defend and fight for during the next four years, it’s important to remind our Congressional delegation: Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Congressman Welch that there’s a program that they can rally behind that we already know is successful and is already saving lives as I write this. Allowing this program to fall through the cracks would be disastrous to international health, and is a great example of Democrats and Republicans working together to accomplish something meaningful and worthwhile.