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Congressional letter expresses concern and requests clarification on PEPFAR policies, funding and strategy in Africa

In a letter to the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, twenty-five members of Congress expressed “concern about several reported policy and funding decisions that have impacted treatment programs supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in certain countries in African” and requested clarification on the Administration’s “strategy for reaching the goal of providing AIDS treatment to 4 million people.”

PEPFAR releases an updated guidance document for HIV prevention among people who inject drugs

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) released a report titled “Comprehensive HIV Prevention for People Who Inject Drugs, Revised Guidance.” The report describes the three elements of PEPFAR’s HIV prevention package for injection drug users (IDUs):
– Community-based outreach programs;

- Sterile needle and syringe programs (NSPs); and

- Drug dependence treatment.

Secretary Clinton announces U.S. health commitments during diplomatic trip to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Vietnam

During a six day (July 18 – July 23) diplomatic trip to Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Republic of Korea, and Vietnam, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced several health related initiatives in Pakistan resulting from the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, discussed maternal and child health programs in Afghanistan, and signed a President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) partnership framework with Vietnam.

Representative Russ Carnahan’s opening statement at hearing on MDGs

Representative Russ Carnahan provided an opening statement during a hearing titled “Achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: Progress through Partnerships” held before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight. During his comments, Representative Carnahan outlined several reasons why the MDGs were important to U.S. interests and stated that “[t]he private sector is in the unique position to contribute their expertise, resources, and innovative techniques toward this global effort.”

H.R. 5783 – Investing in Our Future Act of 2010

The proposed bill would impose a 0.005% tax on the value of the currency (if greater than $10,000 USD) acquired in a currency exchange transaction. The revenue generated by this tax would be directed to three new trust funds established at the Department of the Treasure: 20% would be directed to a “Child Care Assistance Trust Fund,” 40% to a “Multilateral Global Health Trust Fund,” and 40% to a “Global Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Trust Fund.” The Secretary of State would have authority to provide grants from the Multilateral Global Health Trust Fund to entities such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and other multilateral organizations that meet specific criteria outlined in the bill. The bill also states that funding for the multilateral organizations must be in addition to and not replacing existing funding and should be used for the purposes of “addressing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, maternal mortality, family planning, neglected diseases, and other health issues affecting developing countries.”

Congressional letter urges President Obama to support the Global Fund

In a letter to President Obama, 100 members of Congress joined Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA, 9th) to urge the Obama Administration “to make a three-year commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria of no less than $6 billion for fiscal years 2012, 2013, and 2014, in addition to any proposed bilateral funding.”

S. 3676 – Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2011

The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved by a vote of 18-12 the FY 2011 State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill with the following recommendations:

Total Funding for State & Foreign Operations: $54.06 billion ($2.6 billion below the President’s FY11 request; $5.3 billion above the FY10 enacted level)

Global Health and Child Survival Account (GHCS): $8.239 billion ($274 million below the President’s request; $460 million above the FY10 enacted level) with funding for specific areas is as follows:
– HIV/AIDS activities and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: $5.85 billion
– HIV/AIDS: $5.05 billion

- Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria contribution: $800 million
– Malaria: $635.5 million

- Tuberculosis: $230 million

- Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs): $100 million

- Child Survival and Maternal Health: $641 million

- Nutrition: $100 million

- Family Planning and Reproductive Health: $700 million which includes funding from multiple accounts and provides $55 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Millennium Challenge Corporation: $1.105 billion ($174.7 million below the President’s FY11 request; equal to the FY10 enacted level)

Feed the Future: $1.3 billion ($344 million below the President’s FY11 request)

“Global Gag” Rule Amendment:The Committee approved by a vote of 19-11 an amendment to the appropriations bill introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) that would codify into law President Obama’s decision to rescind the “global gag” rule (otherwise known as the Mexico City Policy), which prevented the U.S. from providing foreign assistance for family planning purposes to any organization that performed or promoted legal abortion.

President Obama discusses PEPFAR and the GHI in an interview with South African Broadcasting Corporation

In response to a question on claims of a funding decrease for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) posed during an interview by the South African Broadcasting Corporation, President Obama stated that “we are seeing not a decrease, but an increase in PEPFAR, [and] an increase in the Global Health Initiative (GHI). President Obama also discussed the importance building capacity alongside of efforts to increase access to treatment.

Ambassador Goosby provides an update on PEPFAR programs in Uganda

In a State Department blog post titled “PEPFAR Programs in Uganda: An Update,” U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby summarized recent challenges surrounding HIV treatment in Uganda and outlined some of the actions PEPFAR will take to address these challenges including:
– Strengthen PEPFAR’s linkages, through the Global Health Initiative (GHI), with other U.S.-supported health programs;

- Support treatment scale-up and expansion of access to HIV prevention and care services;

- Provide an immediate infusion of antiretroviral drugs;

- Provide increased short- and medium-term financial assistance;

- Promote best practices and innovations in service delivery;

- Conduct an analysis of treatment expenditures in order to develop a plan that expands access to treatment;

- Accelerate the full functioning of grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria; and

- “Pursue a new approach to purposeful engagement with the Government of Uganda and civil society” in order to coordination and collaboration.

Administration statements in response to results from the CAPRISA 004 Microbicide HIV Prevention Study

In response to the results from the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) 004 Microbicide HIV Prevention Study, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah released a statement congratulating the researchers, summarizing USAID’s involvement in the study, and outlining the next steps required in order to begin integrating the microbicide into U.S. government programs such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, Dr. Anthony Fauci also released a statement congratulating researchers on the findings from the CAPRISA 004 microbicide study and highlighted NIAID’s ongoing HIV/AIDS prevention research.