Bush's Global AIDS Initiative Could be "Tarnished" by Slow Start, AIDS Advocates Say
October 28, 2003
President Bush's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative could be "tarnished" by an "anemic" start, Gannett/Detroit News reports. AIDS advocates had hoped for $3 billion in fiscal year 2004 for "massive" treatment and prevention efforts in the 12 African and two Caribbean countries covered by the initiative, but Republican congressional leaders are trying to hold spending to $2 billion (Frandsen, Gannett/Detroit News, 10/26). In addition, the Bush administration has requested only $2 billion, although the measure (HR 1298) supporting the initiative authorizes $3 billion for the first year of the program. Bush said that his administration requested less than $3 billion in funding for the first year of the initiative in order to give the program time to "ramp up" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/17). DATA, an AIDS, debt relief and trade advocacy group, has said that the extra $1 billion could prevent 1.6 million new HIV infections and could provide 400,000 HIV-positive people with antiretroviral treatment, according to Gannett/Detroit News. AIDS advocates say that the epidemic has "dramatically" worsened poverty in countries hardest hit and could lead to slow economic growth and political instability in some countries. "We're saying this is an emergency. The president says it is an emergency. But $2 billion doesn't treat it as an emergency," DATA's Tom Hart said, adding, "You don't deal with a forest fire with a couple of garden hoses."
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.