South Africa: Advocates Rally to Stop PEPFAR Funding Cuts

The “Keep the Promise” Declaration calls on the United States to keep its commitment to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which provides funding for HIV/AIDS treatment programs in developing countries. Recent cuts to PEPFAR represent an alarming retreat on AIDS treatment and care, which signals the wavering of resolve by the U.S. to fight the AIDS epidemic.

Hundreds of advocates marched on July 12 through the streets of Durban, South Africa to call attention to recent PEPFAR budget cuts.

PEPFAR has already pulled funding at HIV/AIDS healthcare centers in Durban, including from Saint Mary’s Hospital, McCord Hospital and the Ithembalabantu Clinic. People in need of life-saving medication are being turned away. Reports indicate that 4,000 adults and 1,000 children formerly on treatment at McCord now have to seek treatment elsewhere, following the site’s closure.

The march in Durban comes in advance of the “Keep the Promise” March on Washington, which will take place on July 22 before the opening of the XIX International AIDS Conference. A current client at the Ithembalabantu Clinic, Jenny Boyce, will speak in Washington, DC at the March on Washington as an advocate representing South Africa.

“Ten years ago when I was diagnosed with AIDS, I wanted to live long enough to see my child finish school, then I thought I could accept dying,” said Boyce. “Now I feel much better, because of getting treatment. I have married and my son has completed high school. Without treatment this would have never happened, that’s why we must raise our voices and take action to stop cuts to life-saving programs like PEPFAR.”

Join us on July 22 at 2 pm, at the Washington Monument, in Washington DC! We must stop cuts to life-saving AIDS treatment programs!


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