AIDS Health Care Leaders Send Letter to President Bush Recommending Eight HIV/AIDS Policies
More than 100 AIDS health professionals have sent a letter to President Bush encouraging him to commit to allocating more resources to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. The letter is an initiative of Health Action AIDS, a project of Physicians for Human Rights in conjunction with Partners in Health (Health Action AIDS release, 1/22). In the letter, the group provides eight recommendations that it hopes Bush will consider in developing a "new initiative on HIV/AIDS." The letter includes the following recommendations:
- "[S]ignificantly increas[ing]" U.S. contributions to international programs, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It also recommends that the United States give at least $3.5 billion of the $14 billion that the World Health Organization's Commission on Macroeconomics and Health estimates is needed annually to fight HIV/AIDS.
- The administration should "rapidly scale up health infrastructure in AIDS-burdened countries" by implementing a "generous program" to help health professionals who are "fighting the disease globally."
- Significantly expanding programs around the world that treat people with HIV/AIDS; the "health care systems already exists" to provide a "backbone" for a "comprehensive approach to prevention, care and treatment," the letter states.
- The United States should make a "massive" effort to expand prevention programs, including "school-based and peer AIDS education, outreach programs for commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men, access to condoms, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, voluntary counseling and testing and mass media campaigns."
- More assistance should be given to people who care for AIDS orphans.
- President Bush should develop an "AIDS Corps, as outlined in the U.S. Leadership on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2002." The program to assist AIDS workers abroad should have its own budget, "so that the program does not have to compete for foreign aid funds," the letter states.
- Impoverished countries should receive "expanded debt relief" beyond that outlined in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.
- More funding and attention is needed for judicial and preventative measures to address "discrimination and subordination of women." Education initiatives, greater reproductive health care access for women and girls and assistance to governments to prosecute rape, sex trafficking and prostitution are needed.
Some of the letter's signatories include former Surgeons General Antonio Novello and Julius Richmond; James Curran, dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; Nils Daulaire, president and chief executive officer of the Global Health Council; Paul Farmer, professor of medical anthropology at Harvard Medical School and founding director of Parnters in Health; Eric Goosby, CEO of Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation; Mathilde Krim, founder and chair of the board of the American Foundation for AIDS Research; Peter Lamptey, senior vice president of Family Health International; Richard Marlink, director of the Harvard AIDS Institute; and Paul Volberding, professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco and chair of the board of the International AIDS Society-USA (Health Action AIDS letter, 1/22). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.