Cuts to AIDS Treatment Programs Could Cost a Million Lives

“We will currently maintain those patients on the treatment,” Mr. Sastry said. He did not explain how that would happen if funding dropped by roughly 20 percent, but the programs have wide bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, where they may be shielded from the proposed cuts.

Much of the success of anti-AIDS efforts in Africa has come from a guarantee in many countries that people who test positive for H.I.V. can immediately receive treatment.

With a huge share of Africa’s population reaching sexual maturity in the next four years, the virus could again imperil much of the continent if fewer people are treated, said Brian Honermann, deputy director at amfAR, a foundation that invests in AIDS research.

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AIDS treatment not only keeps people alive but prevents them from spreading the virus to others, Mr. Honermann noted. “If you cut the funding by this much, I think there’s a real risk we will backslide, and a whole lot more people will become infected,” he said.

Much of the United States government’s funding for AIDS treatment and research is funneled through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or Pepfar, which was established in 2004 by President George W. Bush in an effort to save Africa from an epidemic that threatened to kill much of the population of entire countries, like Botswana and Namibia.

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