Health department officials have won a reprieve from the US government after it threatened to slash its funding for SA’s HIV/AIDS programmes due to poor performance. Senior officials flew to Washington in late April, accompanied by civil society representatives, to ask the US President`s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) programme to reconsider its threat to cut support in its next funding cycle, which begins on October 1.   While SA funds the lion’s share of its HIV/AIDS programmes, it receives substantial donor support. Its biggest international donor is Pepfar, which has provided $6.23bn since 2004. In January, US Global AIDS co-ordinator Deborah Birx stunned officials when she threatened to cut funding from the current $670m to $400m for the 2019 US financial year, due to what she described as the “grossly suboptimal” performance of the Pepfar-supported programmes in SA. She drew particular attention to the fact that more patients had stopped treatment than had started ...

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