90 Health, Faith, Antipoverty Groups Send Letter Urging Congress to Increase Funding for AIDS, TB and Malaria

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- -- Ninety global health, faith and antipoverty groups called on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to increase funding for AIDS, malaria and TB programs, including the Global Fund, in the continuing resolution for FY 2007. Without an increase, these important programs will be faced with level funding, and recent critical gains made against these diseases will be lost.

"Increased funding for AIDS, TB and malaria programs, including the Global Fund, can literally mean life and death for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by these diseases every day," said Natasha Bilimoria, executive director of the Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a signer of the letter. "Of the many priorities, we urge Congress to build on its strong support for these programs to save millions around the world. It would be tragic to backpedal now."

"Extremely drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) is an emergency in Southern Africa that, if left unchecked, will undermine lifesaving progress in AIDS treatment and TB control," said Joanne Carter, director of global initiatives at RESULTS Educational Fund. "While much more is needed to stop the surge of XDR-TB, restoring promised 2007 funding for the Global Fund and for U.S. AIDS and tuberculosis programs is a critical first step in our collective efforts to bring this airborne killer under control."

Signers to the letter called for support for the Senate Committee-approved funding level of $4.36 billion for these programs, including:

    -- $3.42 billion for bilateral AIDS, TB and research programs, including

       activities in the 15 focus countries;

    -- $700 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and

       Malaria; and

    -- $234 million for bilateral malaria programs, including full funding for

       the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI).

There are real consequences of keeping AIDS, malaria and TB programs level funded. The Global Fund would lose up to $150 million from the Senate bills. As a result, 16,500 people won't go on AIDS treatment, nearly 1 million bed nets will not be available to protect children and families from malaria, and 120,000 will not be put on treatment for TB. Level funding would also eliminate the opportunity to reach an estimated 350,000 people in urgent need of AIDS treatment through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and would have a significant impact on the President's Malaria Initiative of reducing malaria deaths by 50 percent in its target countries after three years.

Source: Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria