The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) expresses deep concern over drastic cuts to HIV/AIDS biomedical research and development proposed in the U.S. President's FY 18 budget.
This budget is built on the unfortunate fallacy that the AIDS epidemic can be sustainably controlled using current tools. The proposed 18 percent cut to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Research (PEPFAR) limits capacity to maintain treatment programs at present levels only, and fails to accommodate treatment for millions of people who will require it. Steadily increased investment in PEPFAR is what has saved millions of lives and given 11.5 million people access to treatment.
To truly end AIDS, we must look to the horizon of new prevention technologies, including an AIDS vaccine. This budget eliminates USAID funding for IAVI, preventing our researchers from moving 10 promising vaccine candidates into the clinic and from understanding the biological basis of HIV infection that has already helped devise approaches to fighting other infectious diseases.
We call on Congress to fully fund the PEPFAR program, including critical support provided by USAID for HIV prevention R&D. This support promotes economic growth at home and abroad, illuminates the value of American innovation, and helps maintain political stability and global security.
The end of AIDS is within our grasp. This budget will keep us from ever realizing a world without AIDS.