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Press Release

Medical Students Join On World AIDS Day to "Cut the Red Tape'' Impeding Effective HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment

Thousands of Medical Students Rally for Reform of U.S. AIDS Relief Efforts

November 26, 2007

Reston, Va. -- On the eve of World AIDS Day, 350 Chicago-area medical student members of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) are expected to rally starting at noon in front of Senator Obama's office, followed by a march to the Illinois Republican Party offices. These students will join other AMSA members also holding rallies in San Francisco and Washington D.C., all standing in solidarity to demand reform of PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, from the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.

PEPFAR is the United States' relief effort to curb the AIDS epidemic worldwide. In 2003, President Bush called for $15 billion dollars over five years to fight the disease. Now up for reauthorization, PEPFAR needs to be reformed to adequately serve the needs of the implementers and patients it serves.

"PEPFAR will determine the U.S. relief efforts for the next five years," says Vishal Patel, M.D., AMSA's Global AIDS Fellow. "It is critical that we make necessary changes to PEPFAR if we wish to have any chance of success to curb the HIV/AIDS pandemic."

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Medical students will march with red armbands over their white coats and drape red caution tape on the march trail to tell political leaders to "cut the red tape on effective HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment." These medical student activists will also bind their hands with red tape to symbolize how the U.S.'s insufficient funding and ineffective policy inhibits doctors from fighting the AIDS pandemic.

AMSA is asking for three commitments for PEPFAR reform from the Republic and Democratic presidential candidates and other Congressional leaders:

  • At least $50 billion over five years to fight global AIDS,
  • $8 billion of reauthorization funds to train and retain health care workers,
  • Strike the earmark of spending one-third of all prevention funding on abstinence-until-marriage programs and supporting comprehensive, integrated, and evidence-based HIV prevention programs.

Mike Ehlert, President of the American Medical Student Association, spoke about the medical students unique role in the fight against global AIDS: "Global health equity is one of AMSA's strategic priorities and the thousands of future doctors that turned out to these rallies to advocate for patients in developing countries that they will never see in their own offices demonstrates our collective commitment fighting global AIDS and the associated inequalities."

These rallies will be part of AMSA entire World AIDS Day programming schedule, with medical students around the nation educating and highlighting various issues affecting HIV/AIDS patients worldwide. For other events, please visit www.amsa.org/global/aids/wad.cfm#local.



  
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This article was provided by American Medical Student Association.
 
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