Chip Lyons Responds: Cuts to AIDS Treatment Programs Could Cost a Million Lives

If you have not yet read Gardiner Harris’s article on the devastating impacts that President Trump’s budget proposal would have on people living with HIV/AIDS, I urge you to do so (“Cuts to AIDS Treatment Programs Could Cost a Million Lives,” The New York Times, May 23).

The article strikes an important chord, emphasizing the human costs of the budget proposal—costs which are all too often occluded by a focus on political machinations and power dynamics. As Mr. Harris notes, research suggests that proposed cuts to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment would spell out a death sentence for at least one million people. It’s imperative that we recognize the considerable human impact of each dollar spent fighting HIV/AIDS.

Mr. Harris also notes that nearly two million children are living with HIV today. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has used critical U.S. government funding—including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief—to help realize a 70% decline in the number of new infections in children since 2000. To halt that remarkable progress would be shortsighted and irresponsible, squandering the lifesaving investments that the U.S. has already made. But more importantly, it would subject countless children and families to unthinkable suffering, seriously jeopardizing active efforts to end the pediatric epidemic by 2020.