AIDS Initiative Praised, but Worry Persists
April 30, 2003
AIDS advocates praised President Bush's request Tuesday that Congress pass a $15 billion global AIDS initiative, but they expressed concern that in the United States -- especially in the South -- the disease is being ignored. "The global catastrophe is almost unfathomable and must be an important priority," said Jeff Graham, executive director of the Atlanta-based AIDS Survival Project. "But we need to make sure that we don't deal with it at the expense of people here at home."Adapted from:
Bush's global AIDS effort comes as his administration has proposed an 8 percent decrease in the main domestic AIDS funding program, although that includes a 25 percent increase in AIDS drug assistance. The reduced funding could hit especially hard in the South: The region is home to seven of the 10 states with the highest AIDS rates. In addition, according to last week's report from the Southern AIDS Coalition, the South is facing a growing epidemic among African-Americans, women and rural residents.
"We want to encourage the president to address the issues in the South, too," said SAC Co-Chair Gene Copello, who is director of Tampa-based Florida AIDS Action.
More money needs to be spent on studying new AIDS drugs as the virus becomes resistant to the old ones, said Dr. Melanie Thompson of Atlanta's AIDS Research Consortium. Prevention and treatment programs do not have enough funds, she said.
"Drugs are more expensive here than overseas, and many people are uninsured," Thompson said. "The South has a huge challenge with this."
04.30.03; David Wahlberg
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.