U.S. Officials Acknowledge Nation Should Do More to Fight Global HIV/AIDS
U.S. officials returning from the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, acknowledged that criticism that the United States is not doing enough to fight global HIV/AIDS is "justified," and that the nation should to more to fight the disease globally, Reuters Health reports. AIDS activists have shifted their efforts from convincing pharmaceutical companies to cut the price of AIDS drugs for developing nations to urging the governments of wealthy nations to allocate more money toward international HIV/AIDS initiatives. This approach was demonstrated last week when HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson was shouted down during his speech at the conference. "I think there is a sense that our feet are being held to the fire, and they should be," Scott Evertz, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, said. Joseph O'Neill, acting director of the HHS office of HIV/AIDS policy, said the United States "must redouble and redouble again" its efforts to prevent the spread of HIV. The United States has pledged $500 million so far to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, but activists would like to see that contribution increased. "We have an unprecedented health crisis. Incremental steps are not going to solve the crisis," Eric Payne, a lobbyist with AIDS Action, said. While officials acknowledged that the United States should do more to fight global HIV/AIDS, they stressed that the nation already contributes 44% of all money allocated to international AIDS efforts. In addition, the Senate recently passed a bill (HR 2069) that authorizes nearly $5 billion over two years in funding for global HIV/AIDS programs (Zwillich, Reuters Health, 7/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.