Former US president George W Bush has argued funding for an AIDs initiative should be retained, amid news President Donald Trump is planning to cut $300 million from the programme.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was founded by Bush during his time in the White House – and he is urging Congress to fully fund it, despite Trump's proposed budget cuts.

Trump's administration has proposed cutting $300 million from PEPFAR, with his overall budget plan also proposing cuts to after-school programmes for children and meals on wheels for the elderly.

In his op-ed for The Washington Post, Bush wrote: "I argue that we shouldn't spend money on programs that don't work, whether at home or abroad, but they should fully fund programs that have proven to be efficient, effective and results-oriented.

"Saving nearly 12 million lives is proof that PEPFAR works, and I urge our government to fully fund it."

Trump has not openly responded to Bush's opinion piece as yet, although given the amount of criticism his cuts to community development block grants provoked, he is unlikely to be troubled by the negative backlash.

"It is clear that the generosity of the American people has had a huge impact, one that reflects the view that all lives are precious, and to whom much is given, much is required. This life-saving work also has a practical purpose for Americans," Bush added.