President Bush Must ‘Back Up His Words’ on AIDS With More Funding, Minneapolis Star Tribune Editorial Says
President Bush may discuss the AIDS epidemic in his State of the Union address tonight, but "if the past is any guide, will anything come of his words?," a Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial asks. Bush last year announced a $500 million plan to address mother-to-child HIV transmission in Africa and the Caribbean, but the project "remains entirely underfunded." In addition, the United States' contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is "meager -- the smallest contribution relative to wealth ... of any Western country." The editorial states that the United States is not "giving nearly enough to fight the world's biggest killers." The Senate last year passed a bill (S 2525), co-sponsored by Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), that would have given an additional $4 billion over two years to AIDS programs, but the measure was "squelched" by administration officials in a "shameful and shortsighted" move that "now must be made right," the editorial says. The United States should "give its share" to the effort to fight HIV/AIDS, the editorial states, adding, "It's foolish to spend tens of billions [of dollars] preparing defenses against unknown terrors as far paltrier sums are spent to ward off known killers." The editorial concludes that Bush "has said that he does care" about the AIDS epidemic, but "[n]ow all he must do is back up his words with a few billion dollars" (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.