Bush’s Vertical HIV Transmission Proposal Does Not ‘Rise to the Challenge,’ Nation Editor Writes
President Bush's proposal last month to spend $500 million to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in Africa and the Caribbean was a "slap in the face" to Irish rock star Bono and the "millions being killed overseas" by AIDS-related diseases, David Corn, the Washington editor of the Nation, writes in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece. Although programs that provide medication to reduce the risk of vertical HIV transmission are "one of the best bang-for-a-buck components" of the fight against HIV/AIDS, Bush's proposal aims to prevent HIV infection in only 30,000 infants annually, even though 800,000 infants worldwide are born HIV-positive each year, according to UNAIDS, Corn says. In addition, he continues, Bush is "taking credit" for $200 million in HIV/AIDS funding already approved by Congress and is also "covering up the fact" that his administration "pressed" Sens. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) to reduce the funding amount in their international HIV/AIDS bill from $500 million to $200 million. According to Corn, Bush "shows no signs of rising to the challenge" to fight HIV/AIDS internationally. While Bono "deserves credit for pushing the tightwads of Washington and the West to acknowledge publicly" the global HIV/AIDS problem, "[h]ow long ... can [he] sing a song of hope" about Bush "when he still hasn't found anything close to what he -- and those African mothers -- are looking for?" (Corn, Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.