Community Impact

Global Health

Strategic Communications

Congress’s posturing on HIV funding threatens 20 years of progress

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

November 28, 2023

This year marks [PEPFAR’s] 20th anniversary — and it’s in jeopardy due to a bitter partisan battle over one of the nation’s most divisive political issues: abortion. …

PEPFAR is considered the largest program by any nation to address a specific disease in history. It has helped prevent HIV infections and contain the spread of the virus in more than 50 countries across the world. And it has increased child immunizations and reduced maternal and child mortality in those areas as well. …

A group of GOP lawmakers claim PEPFAR funding is being routed to organizations that provide abortion services, which the White House denies. The GOP-controlled U.S. House passed a one-year reauthorization for PEPFAR with specific abortion restriction provisions, but its fate in the U.S. Senate is now in doubt. …

As lawmakers return to their districts this holiday season, Congress should remind itself how PEPFAR started, the millions it has saved, the millions more who stand to benefit — and that it’s not a sign of weakness to work together to advance the greater cause of our own humanity.