Letter to the editor: HIV/AIDS funding must continue to grow

In the 1980s, an HIV diagnosis was considered a death sentence. Since the discovery of HIV and AIDS, over 35 million people have succumbed to AIDS, and 34 million currently live with some form of the HIV virus. But now, approximately 30 different drugs have been approved to treat HIV and AIDS, resulting in roughly a 30 percent decrease in both new infections and deaths over the past 10 years.

In 2014, the future of HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention looks bright, but that does not mean the world can let up on it’s efforts to fight the virus. In President Obama’s proposed budget for next year, $4.35 billion has been set aside for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief [PEPFAR], the same amount as the current budget. This stagnant funding comes as a disappointment for those fighting to end AIDS, leaving them to question the United States’ effort to achieving an AIDS-Free generation. Advocates propose that Congress request an additional $400 million for PEPFAR in both 2015 and 2016 in order to keep increasing HIV and AIDS treatment.

The end of the AIDS epidemic is on the horizon, but if global funding efforts continue to stay stagnant or even decrease, adverse effects will hit the 34 million people suffering worldwide. Please join the ISU Global Health & AIDS Coalition at 8 p.m. April 3 in The Maintenance Shop to hear personal stories of those affected by HIV and AIDS.