AIDS Advocates Hold Congressional Briefing, Conference Call on AIDS Orphans
Leading AIDS advocates and pop star Alicia Keys on Tuesday participated in a congressional briefing on the need to assist children affected by HIV/AIDS, appropriate money to fund the global AIDS bill recently signed by President Bush and discuss the upcoming board meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, according to a Hope for African Children Initiative release. The briefing, which was sponsored by HACI, was moderated by Center for Strategic and International Studies Director Dr. Stephen Morrison and included U.N. Special Envoy on AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis and HACI Executive Director Dr. Pat Youri. Before the briefing, Lewis and Youri were joined by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Columbia University Earth Institute Director Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in a telephone press conference call addressing the issues (Hope for African Children Initiative release, 6/3). "The continent is bleeding," Youri said, adding that Africa has approximately 11 million AIDS orphans, a figure that could almost double in the next 10 years if nothing is done to address the epidemic. Tutu, a "longtime campaigner" on behalf of AIDS issues, appealed to Western governments to increase their contributions to AIDS prevention and treatment programs and to African governments, including his own, to "take the AIDS epidemic more seriously" and to provide antiretroviral medications, according to Reuters/Yahoo! News (Pleming, Reuters/Yahoo! News, 6/3). The briefing was sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) (HACI release, 6/2).
A kaisernetwork.org HealthCast of the briefing will be available online by 12 p.m. today.