Global AIDS Issue ‘At Center-Stage’ of Groups’ Agendas, Opinion Piece Says
The "speed with which" the global AIDS initiative (HR 1298) moved through Congress and was signed by President Bush "is a reflection of the fact that, for good or ill, the global AIDS issue is now not only at center-stage on the agenda of traditional AIDS and international public health advocates but also firmly on the agenda of the president, Congress and the antiabortion, 'profamily' movement as well," Alan Guttmacher Institute Senior Policy Analyst Heather Boonstra writes in an analysis of the bill in the August issue of the Guttmacher Report on Public Policy (Boonstra, Guttmacher Report on Public Policy, August 2003). Bush in May signed into law a measure that authorizes $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/31). The AIDS bill's passage resulted from the "confluence of historical forces" that brought together "disparate, often opposing, interests" into a "broad coalition" that included AIDS advocates and socially conservative groups, Boonstra says. The bill refocuses United States policy "away from prevention-focused activities to a range of services for HIV-positive people," including the provision of antiretroviral drug therapy. The funding goals for the global AIDS initiative are "lofty," and "budget constraints are only expected to intensify" in coming years, according to Boonstra. "In short, on both the policy and the funding fronts, questions abound and future conflicts appear inevitable. How these questions will be answered and conflicts reconciled over time, as the expanding U.S. program is implemented on the ground, remains to be seen," Boonstra says, concluding, "To be sure, the stakes are high for the millions of people around the world at risk of or living with HIV or AIDS" (Guttmacher Report on Public Policy, August 2003).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.