United States ‘Can Do a Lot More’ In War on AIDS, Africare President Writes
What the United States "ultimately ... do[es] -- or fail[s] to do -- about the spread of AIDS will prove to be one of the key defining moral issues of our era," C. Payne Lucas, president of not-for-profit group Africare, states in a Newsday opinion piece. The world is facing an estimated 45 million new infections by 2010, according to a recent study in the Lancet. However, almost 60% of those infections could be prevented if spending on HIV/AIDS prevention were increased by $5 billion each year. "We the people of the United States can do a lot more in this effort, and we should," Lucas said noting that President Bush has a "unique opportunity to bring the full weight of his authority to bear in the war against AIDS." Bush already "signalled a major shift" in U.S. policy when he proposed an additional $5 billion over three years in assistance to developing nations. However, that proposal, which Lucas called a "major step," still needs congressional approval. And even with approval, the disbursement of the funds would be delayed until 2004, he states, noting that the fight against HIV/AIDS needs more funding now. Lucas concludes, "We cannot afford to lose the war against AIDS. The world looks up to us to bring to the war against AIDS and poverty the firm commitment we have shown in the war against terrorism. The demands of human dignity require no less" (Lucas, Newsday, 8/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.