Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Rounds Up Editorials on Bush’s $500M Vertical HIV Transmission Prevention Proposal
President Bush on June 19 proposed that the United States spend $500 million over the next three years to reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission in Africa and the Caribbean (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/21). A summary of some recent newspaper editorials written in response to his proposal are outlined below:
- Akron Beacon Journal: President Bush's proposal to offer "sorely needed assistance" to Africa and the Caribbean is "encouraging," the Journal says in an editorial. Until now the Bush administration has been "slow and stingy" in responding to the international call for HIV/AIDS assistance and has been "more generous with rhetoric and advice than with financial help," the editorial continues. Now that the Bush administration is "moving on a critical problem," hopefully "its conscience will not rest until it gives help that is timely and adequate to the task" (Akron Beacon Journal, 6/23).
- Dallas Morning News: Bush's proposal "isn't the sweeping initiative that the AIDS problem needs, but neither is it a retreat in the battle against AIDS, as critics portray," a Morning News editorial says. While a program that specifically targets vertical HIV transmission is "astute," the United States should "step up its overall contribution" to fight HIV/AIDS internationally and "cajole" other countries to do so as well, the editorial states. In order to be a world leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Bush should include a "comprehensive AIDS initiative ... equivalent to a Marshall Plan on AIDS" as part of his planned trip to Africa next year, the editorial concludes (Dallas Morning News, 6/26).
- Eugene Register-Guard: "Republicans and Democrats are closer than they've ever been to recognizing the need for a major increase in U.S. spending to help rein in the global spread of [HIV]," a Register-Guard editorial says. Although Bush's proposal "falls far short of what's needed" to fight HIV/AIDS internationally, it is also a "step in the right direction for a president who until now has resisted spending more on the global battle against AIDS," the editorial continues, noting that a bipartisan bill (S 2525), sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), would "double" the current $1 billion U.S. contribution to fight HIV/AIDS internationally. This week's G8 meeting in Canada would be "an excellent time for the president to announce his full support for the Kerry/Frist initiative," the editorial concludes (Eugene Register-Guard, 6/24).
- Miami Herald: While Bush's proposed HIV/AIDS funding is a "welcome contribution" to the fight against HIV/AIDS, $500 million is a "mere drop in the bucket when weighed against the global scale of the [HIV/AIDS] epidemic," a Herald editorial says. In addition to "demand[ing]" that the United States assist in preventing vertical HIV transmission, conscience also demands that the United States "do more" to prevent HIV transmission in adults and treat those with HIV/AIDS, the editorial continues. "[M]uch more is needed" to fight the international HIV/AIDS epidemic, and Bush "would do well to make it the beginning of a greater commitment and not merely a means of looking good at [the G8] summit" in Canada this week, the editorial concludes (Miami Herald, 6/21).
- New York Times: Although Bush's proposal to stem vertical HIV transmission is a "worthwhile endeavor," the administration "is taking the wrong approach" to fighting HIV/AIDS, the Times says in an editorial. Bush's initiative "sabotaged" a Senate bill, sponsored by Sens. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), that would have provided "even more money" to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission without "robbing" other HIV/AIDS programs. The initiative was "sure to pass," the Times says. Included in Bush's proposed $500 million is $200 million already appropriated by Congress, half of which would have likely gone to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The United States' contribution to the fund, "which should be on the order of $2.5 billion a year, is about a tenth of that," the editorial says. In addition, the U.S. government should stop the campaign to restrict the use of generic drugs, including generic AIDS drugs. This policy is "counterproductive" and "reflect[s] the wishes" of drug companies rather than people. "Although Bush and members of his cabinet speak as if they understand the catastrophic impact of AIDS worldwide, their willingness to help apparently stops at the point where it could cross key financial supporters or require real money," the Times concludes (New York Times, 6/21).
- Omaha World-Herald: "The administration's initiative complements the welcome consensus in Congress, across partisan and philosophical lines, in favor of stepped-up U.S. support for anti-AIDS efforts," a World-Herald editorial says. "Much good can arise as Americans of various political persuasions join together to focus on the global threat from AIDS. With U.S. help, poor countries can strengthen their medical systems to assist in the prevention and treatment of this horrendous affliction," the editorial concludes (Omaha World-Herald, 6/20).