U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Chairman of International Justice and Peace and President of Catholic Relief Services Urge Continued Funding of U.S and Global HIV/AIDS Programs

December 1, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—On World AIDS Day, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglioof the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, Chair of the USCCB Committeeon International Justice and Peace, along with Sean Callahan, President and CEOof Catholic Relief Services, urge full funding of U.S. and global HIV and AIDSprograms in the FY 2019 budget request. Their position was outlined in a lettersent to the Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The letter to Director Mick Mulvaney coincides with World AIDSDay, December 1, 2017. Whileacknowledging that great strides have been made regarding the AIDS epidemic,the letter emphasizes that any reduction in the funding of programs could havecatastrophic life-threatening implications.

In 2000, only 685,000 people had access to HIVtreatment. Today, roughly 21 million people have access to anti-retroviraldrugs (ARVs) and according to the Joint United NationsProgram on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the past six years has seen a reduction of 56% in new infections in children in Eastern and Southern Africa and a 47 %reduction worldwide.

Archbishop Broglio said, "At a moment when we arefinally witnessing great success in turning back a disease that shocked theworld only a generation ago, any cuts in funding would directly result in areduction in the number of people living with HIV who are added to treatmenteach year, and could trigger a resurgence in the global epidemic."

"Despite enormous gains, millions of lives still hangin the balance", says Sean Callahan. "This also extends to 16 million childrenwho have lost one or both parents due to AIDS related illnesses, and millionsmore children who are vulnerable because the disease has contributed tomalnutrition, cognitive delays, stunting, lack of education or poor physical ormental health."

Their letter argues that it is critical the U.S.government continue to fund the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief(PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to at least 2017 levels. "Although we haveprincipled concerns about those PEPFAR and Global Fund prevention activities wefind inconsistent with Catholic teaching and do not implement or advocate forthese activities, we support the lifesaving missions of PEPFAR and the GlobalFund and urge robust funding for both programs."

The full text of the letter can be found here:  http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/usccb-crs-letter-to-omb-director-mulvaney-re-hiv-aids-programs-2017-12-01.cfm.

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Keywords: Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archdiocese forthe U.S. Military Services. Committee on International Justice and Peace, SeanCallahan, Catholic Relief Services, Director Mick Mulvaney, U.S. Office ofManagement and Budget, U.S. global HIV/AIDS programs, Joint United NationsProgram on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), Eastern andSouthern Africa, U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR),Global Fund.

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