Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Straight Talk with Eric Goosby, head of PEPFAR

Via PulseNews
The US president's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has committed about US$32 billion to the global fight against HIV since its launch in 2003, making it the largest donor for HIV/AIDS globally. Following annual increases in contributions, however, PEPFAR has effectively flat-lined funding from 2009.

IRIN/PlusNews spoke to Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of PEPFAR since June 2009, about how lower funding levels are likely to impact HIV programmes:

QUESTION: Why has President Barack Obama retreated on his campaign promise to provide at least $50 billion by 2013 for the global fight against AIDS?

ANSWER: President Obama has taken the number of people that PEPFAR pays for from 1.6 million to 2.5 million and has pledged through 2013 to cover over four million people on ARVs [antiretroviral treatment]. That's not a backing away.

The backing away is a perception because of the drop in the funding trajectory compared to other years. The reason for that is really the economic decline. The US has been heavily hit and as a result the president has flat-funded or decreased funding in every programme in the US government, except the military and development. We come under development and that’s why we have our increase which was small, just 3 percent.

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