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South Africa AIDS Advocacy March to Protest PEPFAR

Cuts—Mar. 15, 12h00, Durban
DURBAN, South Africa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and
other AIDS and community groups in South Africa will host an advocacy march on 15 March 2013 to
decry recent funding cuts made by President Barack Obamas administration to the Presidents
Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the landmark US global AIDS program which has save
millions of lives worldwide.
In mid-February, as the US observed the tenth anniversary of PEPFAR, which President George W.
Bush first proposed in his 2003 State of the Union address, the effects of devastatingand deadlycuts
to PEPFAR were beginning to be felt around the world. In its Fiscal Year 2013 budget, the Obama
administration cut funding for PEPFARthe first US president ever to reduce global AIDS funding.
One immediate effect in South Africa: the respected AIDS clinic (Sinikithemba clinic) at McCord
Hospital in Durban closed as a result of reduced global funding including the PEPFAR cuts.
MARCH & PROTEST over PEPFAR cuts & impact on South Africas AIDS fight When:
Friday, 15 March, 2013 12h00 to 14h00 (12noon to 2PM) Where:
Dr. Pixley KaSemme Street (West Street) in Durban Central, Durban City Hall, Durban, South Africa
AHF South Africa and partners
Hilary Thulare, Country Program Director, SOUTH AFRICA
Tel: +27 (0)31 906 0452 | Cell: +27 79 809 8590
Bullet Points on PEPFAR Cuts
Cutbacks to PEPFAR are hindering the fight against AIDS. In South Africa, the closing of many
NGOs including clinics providing HIV treatment including Sinikithemba at McCords Hospital in part
due to PEPFAR's reluctance to continue funding. The closing of Sinikithemba led to 4,000 HIVpositive adults and 1,000 children scrambling to find a place to receive care and treatment; PEPFAR
cuts signify a retreat on AIDS by the Obama Administration; it shows that the Obama administration
believes the lives of HIV positive individuals are expendable; The idea of "shared responsibility" or
justifying cuts by saying the South African government wants to have ownership of its HIV/AIDS
response is simply an excuse. We should use ALL available resources to fight AIDS and that means
the United States government doing all it can do the South African government doing all it can do as
well. It is by no means supposed to be a situation where one effort replaces the other or in the case
of Sinikithemba at McCords, leaves a gap in services for people living with HIV; The idea of
"ownership" or "shared responsibility" is not rhetoric that was established by recipient countries but

is really just a fancy way of saying the US is not committed to staying the course in the fight against
AIDS; In retrospect, President Obama's promise to scale up treatment to 6 million people by 2013
was a case of lip service and pandering on World AIDS Day. We are seeking a measurable scale up of
treatment not a retreat on AIDS; The evidence that treatment works as prevention is the hope and
blueprint we have wanted for years in order to see an end to AIDS. How can we get to an end of
AIDS if PEPFAR & the US government fail to keep its promises? A consequence of the Obama
Administration's retreat on AIDS is a reduction in funding of about $220 million; We call for a full
funding of PEPFAR; a scale up of treatment and renewed commitment to continue allocate resources
to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
By all accounts, PEPFAR has been a tremendous success, saving millions of lives while also serving
as one of Americas most successful diplomacy efforts over the past decade, said Michael Weinstein,
President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. However, President Obama is also the first U.S. president
to cut global AIDS funding, a shameful retreat at a time when, according to World Health
Organization, there are 6.8 million who need treatment now but aren't receiving it, and at a time
when we are seeing the real impact of treatment on saving lives and reducing new infections.
In Fiscal-Year 2012, federal funding for global AIDS was $6.63 billion. President Obamas fiscal year
2013 budget proposed spending $6.42 billion. In human terms, that difference represents 640,000
people with HIV/AIDS that could receive lifesaving AIDS treatment for one year, added Weinstein.
In order to break the chain of new infections, policy experts agree that the widespread scale up
treatment and testing is needed; however, a majority of existing PEPFAR and other global AIDS
money isstill not spent on this. At least 50% of funding has to be focused on testing and treatment,
added Tom Myers, AHF Chief of Public Affairs. And while we may reach six million people
ontreatment this year, that number is simply not enough to get us to President Obamas AIDS-free
generation while there are 34 million people with HIV/AIDS around the globe.
Sadly, President Obamas highly touted goal of an AIDS-free generationwhich received only a
glancing mention in his own State of the Union address February 12is unlikely to be achieved.
Background on PEPFAR
Since the creation of PEPFAR under President George W. Bush in 2003, the U.S.s commitment to
global AIDS grew from less than $1 billion to todays present levels, and the lifesaving results have
been nothing short of miraculous. In combating a disease that affects over 34 million, U.S.
generosity today helps provide treatment for over 5.2 million people with HIV/AIDS worldwide,
preventing premature deaths and while helping to prevent millions of new HIV infections. However,
funding increases stalled under President Obama, despite Congressional approval for increased
spending which approval then-Senator Obama also supported. Now, as President, Obama is
presiding over Americas retreat on global AIDS.
Last year, Obamas cutbacks to PEPFAR led to a decision in South Africa to shut down McCord
Hospital and its respected AIDS clinic in Durban. Ironically, this action came about a few months
after President Obama announced that the United States would scale up its commitment to fighting
AIDS by providing treatment for up to 6 million people by 2013. However, its budget proposal for
fiscal year 2013 indicated that the Administration actually cut funding for PEPFAR and intended to
scale up contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. As a
consequence of the proposed changes, the combined funding for both programs would be
significantly reduced by about $220 million, inevitably leading to reduced services and treatment for
people living with HIV globally.

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