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Policy & Politics

Obama Commits to Increased HIV/AIDS Support, but Unclear How Much

March 2, 2009

The head of the Elizabeth Glaser AIDS Foundation says it is unclear how much President Obama will increase funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and support, but, "I think we are optimistic."

"The PEPFAR [President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] reauthorization last year came through with very strong bipartisan support, including President Obama and Vice President Biden," said Pamela Barnes. "And I think this budget proposal at least indicates a commitment to increase foreign aid and foreign assistance. And what we know about the HIV/AIDS programs supported by the US government is that they've been successful."

Barnes continued, "What we've seen is great impact in terms of being able to reach more and more women who are pregnant. For example, just two years ago all of the programs trying to reach pregnant women to prevent [HIV] transmission were reaching fewer than 15 percent of the women who needed those services. The new legislation has really pushed for a target of reaching 80 percent of the women who need that care."

Barnes said it may be some time before firm spending figures are released for HIV/AIDS programs. "In 2009, the budgets were basically flat-lined and we really have been pushing hard to be cost-effective and continue to show increasing results."

The Glaser Foundation, Barnes said, is "really focused on creating a generation free of HIV. I think what the president challenged many of us to do and think about was to move away from short-term thinking and push out to really look at that next generation. We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission. We've done it in the developed world. And we know that we can create a generation free of HIV in those countries deeply affected."

Back to other news for March 2009

Adapted from:
Voice of America News
02.27.2009; Joe DeCapua

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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.
See Also
Advocates Urge Obama to Address HIV in the U.S.
President Obama and HIV/AIDS