AIDS advocates fear of a global relapse in combating the disease as the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief will gain a mere funding increase of just 2.2 percent this year, the smallest since the program’s establishment.
The decrease in PEPFAR support has taken its toll in Africa, Newsweek reports. In Uganda, PEPFAR-supported AIDS clinics have stopped admitting new patients, according to Peter Mugyenyi, who runs the Joint Clinical Research Center in the country.
Cutting back on PEPFAR support will possibly have long-term effects in the fight against AIDS, Newsweek says.
“If you’re trying to encourage people to get tested, and then you can’t back that up with treatment for those who are sick, you’re creating a disincentive to get tested,” said Peter Navario, a global health fellow at the Center for Foreign Relations.
Moreover, decreasing PEPFAR financing may erase gains in curbing AIDS particularly now that reluctant states like South Africa have already started to address the problem, according to Emi McLean, the U.S. director of Doctors Without Borders.