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Ban on abortion counseling funding overseas could affect AIDS and HIV treatment

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President Trump’s recent executive order halting U.S. funding for groups overseas that offer abortion counseling and referrals may have negative implications for AIDS and HIV relief.


Adrienne Lucas, an economics professor at the University of Delaware, said Trump’s move to change this U.S. policy will make it harder for clinics to provide drug treatment — called Antiretroviral Therapy — to people in need.


Without treatment, HIV could turn into AIDS, leading to increased mortality rates abroad. 


“It has potential effects on later generations and could really hamper or even reverse recent economic growth and development gains in Sub-saharan Africa,” Lucas said.


With much of the media and public focused on Trump’s recent order on immigration and refugee travel restrictions, Lucas said she worries this funding ban has flown a bit under the radar.


“There’s 11.5 million people who depend on these drugs in order to stay alive,” Lucas said. “Not only that, but these are prime-age adults, and so their children are also affected.”


Lucas said research shows children of infected adults who are not receiving treatment have worse schooling and health outcomes. 


The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, has funded AIDS relief outside of the US since 2003.