amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

New Analysis: Global Health Cuts in Proposed Debt Deal Would Have Negligible Budget Impact but Cost Thousands of Lives

Nearly 30,000 more infants would be born with HIV; AIDS treatment funding for 400,000 would be eliminated


For Immediate Release 

Media Contact:
Cub Barrett, Program Communications Manager
(212) 806-1602


NEW YORK, October 14, 2011—As the Congressional “supercommittee” meets to recommend $1.2 trillion in cuts from the U.S. federal budget, a new analysis released Friday by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, shows that proportional reductions in U.S. global health funding would have a minimal impact on deficit reduction while costing thousands of lives and reversing years of gains against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

A proportional cut in U.S. global health investments under the debt deal “enforcement mechanism” would mean a $5.04 billion reduction over nine years. This cut would represent only 0.42% of the $1.2 trillion in mandated reductions, but the human impact would be devastating.

Read the full amfAR analysis, “The Budget Control Act of 2011 and Global Health: Projecting the Human Impact of the Debt Deal

According to the Budget Control Act of 2011, that enforcement mechanism, resulting in across-the-board reductions, will be triggered if: the plan proposed by the committee’s 12 House and Senate Members is not delivered to Congress by November 23, 2011; Congress does not pass the plan; the plan, as passed, is not enacted by January 15, 2012; or the agreed-upon reductions do not total $1.2 trillion.

“We need to be as strategic as possible in spending U.S. dollars, and our current global AIDS investments show tremendous pay-off in lives saved,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Frost. “We urge the House and Senate members on the supercommittee—as well as the full Congress—to consider the human lives at stake in the budgeting process, and to recognize how damaging it would be to make serious cuts in global health funding.”

According to the amfAR analysis, if Congress were to recommend a proportional cut to U.S. global health investments and reductions were applied equally across bilateral programs, in FY13 alone:

  • 29,000 more infants would be born with HIV because of reduced funding for prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs;
  • Food, education, and livelihood assistance would not be available to 419,000 children through the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR);
  • Funding to treat 403,000 people with HIV/AIDS would not be available;
  • 1.9 million fewer insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria would be delivered;
  • 44,000 fewer people would be treated for tuberculosis;
  • Through multilateral programming, 1.1 million fewer combination vaccines for children would be delivered; and
  • Cuts in funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria would lead to significant additional morbidity and mortality in HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria.
  • These estimates are based on an across-the-board 11.07% cut under sequestration. The report also estimates the impact of a 5% cut to global health accounts.

“The savings that could be achieved from seriously cutting global health would have only a negligible impact on the deficit but would affect millions of people who rely on these effective programs to stay alive and healthy,” said Chris Collins, amfAR’s vice president and director of public policy. “Such draconian cuts would undermine progress on America’s humanitarian and diplomatic goals and squander the opportunity we have today to begin to end the AIDS pandemic.”

About amfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $325 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.