New York Times Editorial Calls on Congress to Appropriate Full $750 Million to Global AIDS Fund
"It is critical that Congress actually appropriate the full $750 million" that the House authorized this week for the Global Fund to Fights AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria with the passage of the Global Access to HIV/AIDS Prevention, Education and Treatment Act (HR 2069), a New York Times editorial states. The $750 million appropriation made by the House would more than double the current U.S. contribution to the fund, which to date has received only $1.5 billion out of an estimated need of between $7 billion and $10 billion. Those donations could "dry up" if the project does not take action soon, the editorial says. The fund's planning commission, "under pressure from donor nations," is in "danger of making the wrong choices on several important fronts," according to the editorial. Under the current plan, grants would go only to governments that request funds. However, some governments in the worst-affected areas, like South Africa, "deny that they have a problem." According to the editorial, independent groups in countries where governments are "shirking their responsibilities" should be able to apply for money. The fund must also provide money for antiretroviral drugs, according to the editorial, which goes on to say that without available treatment, people have little incentive to get tested and prevention efforts are less likely to take hold. The fund "could provide a major service by negotiating for the lowest possible prices on behalf of countries too small and poor to have clout" with drug makers, the editorial notes. However, if lower prices cannot be negotiated, the fund should also consider using generic copies of patented AIDS drugs, "so as to help the most people," the editorial states. "AIDS must be treated as the emergency it is -- a plague the likes of which the world has not seen since the Black Death seven centuries ago," the editorial concludes (New York Times, 12/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.