Anand Reddi: PEPFAR at Risk Should Mitt Romney Become US President

The U.S. President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, is at risk of losing government financial support should Mitt Romney win Republicans’ nod to run as U.S president and secure the country’s highest position as well, a U.S. health expert says.

Anand Reddi of the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine quotes in a Huffington Post blog entry Romney’s response when asked at a recent town hall about his support for the global effort to fight HIV/AIDS: “I’m very reluctant to borrow lots more money to be able to do wonderful things, if those things can be done by people making charitable contributions or by other countries that are wealthy…”

Reddi says such retreat on global HIV/AIDS funding would jeopardize PEPFAR and its progress in helping treat HIV/AIDS in poor countries. He adds that while Romney’s concern about the the United States’ rising federal deficits is well-placed, he should not target foreign aid, which represents less than 1 percent of the entire U.S. budget.

“Reducing foreign aid lacks not only ethical legitimacy but also jeopardizes the U.S. economic recovery,” Reddi says, while suggesting that Romney can instead support the implementation of a tax on financial transactions in the current market to raise funds for PEPFAR, the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and other aid initiatives.

Several international aid groups have made similar calls for the implementation of such a tax to mobilize more development finance. France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan, among other key donors, have also supported such calls.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.