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International News

Rage, Panic in AIDS Fight

August 2, 2010

President Barack Obama is reneging on his commitment to make big increases in global AIDS spending, say activists, causing some to pine for his predecessor, George W. Bush.

The Global Health Initiative, the Obama administration's $63 billion, six-year program, devotes $44 billion to HIV and TB. The remainder goes to malaria, maternal and child health programs and to the broad goal of "health systems strengthening." GHI is larger than Bush's ground-breaking President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); however, it seeks to make progress against a range of health problems, rather than focusing intently on AIDS.

"What it takes to save lives of those with HIV and those most at risk to contract it is a comprehensive approach that recognizes the roles of other diseases," said Gayle Smith, Obama's special assistant for development and democracy.

According to activists, the White House request for global AIDS spending for next fiscal year is just 2 percent above this year's amount. The administration is on track to spend less than planned by either GHI or the 2008 Lantos-Hyde Act, which renewed PEPFAR and authorized $48 billion from 2009 through 2013.

"The paradox is that the United States government and other funding partners have decided to either flat-line or reduce their spending just when funding should be ramped up so we could actually win the battle," said Paul Zeitz of the Global AIDS Alliance. "Bush made a commitment, and then circumstances changed. Despite the change, he kept his word," Zeitz noted.

In target countries, there is barely enough money to pay for those in treatment, and patients who need to start will soon be turned away, activists say. "The fact is, this crisis isn't looming. It's happening," said Joanne Carter, a board member of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Back to other news for August 2010

Adapted from:
Washington Post
07.29.2010; David Brown

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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.
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