Sens. Mike DeWine and Lincoln Chafee Visit Guyana and Haiti on AIDS ‘Fact-Finding Mission’
Sens. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) this weekend left for a "fact-finding mission" to Guyana and Haiti to prepare for congressional debate of President Bush's proposed HIV/AIDS initiative, Agence France-Presse reports. After returning from Haiti later this week, the senators will brief the Senate about the high incidence of the disease in the two countries, which were among those countries singled out in the president's initiative. "We are going to have a lot of pressure and competition for the scarce tax dollars, homeland security and all the issues that we are going to have to face back there, so it's important that we are here to see first-hand so we can go back and advocate to our colleagues," Chafee said. More than 18,000 people in Guyana and 250,000 people in Haiti are HIV-positive (Agence France-Presse, 2/23). DeWine this weekend met with nongovernmental HIV/AIDS organizations, Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo, Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy and the board of the state-run Georgetown Hospital. While DeWine praised the country's HIV prevention efforts, he noted the need for "more progress" in treatment and care, including a reduction of mother-to-child HIV transmission. "This unfortunately is a slow process and our assistance will not happen overnight, but it has now begun and we will try as best we can in the Congress to speed that process up," DeWine said. The Senators' trip to Guyana follows a similar trip made last year by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson (EFE News Service, 2/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.