Congressional Delegation Arrives in South Africa, Aims To Use Experience To Determine U.S. Response to HIV/AIDS Epidemic
A six-member congressional delegation led by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) yesterday arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa -- the first stop in the group's four-country trip to Africa -- to meet with government and public health officials to discuss strategies for fighting HIV/AIDS, the Washington Times reports (Hill, Washington Times, 8/21). The delegation, which includes Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and John Warner (R-Va.), plans to visit Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia before returning to the United States on Aug. 29. The delegation plans to meet with government and public health officials, physicians, HIV-positive people and their families. The delegation also will visit clinics and testing and treatment facilities, including the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa; the Salvation Army HIV orphanage in Soweto; the Bernard Noordkamp Catholic AIDS Action Center in Windhoek, Namibia; and the St. Mary's Hospital Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission and VCT facility in Windhoek (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/19). Frist yesterday said that addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa and other African nations "requires bold leadership," adding that the delegation hopes the trip will help U.S. lawmakers "evaluate the appropriate response to what is one of the most significant health crises of our time." Global AIDS Alliance Executive Director Paul Zeitz said that he hoped the delegation's trip would help the lawmakers to "reverse their opposition to fully funding the fight against AIDS," adding, "It would be unconscionable for the senator and his colleagues to meet people living with AIDS and then let them down" (Washington Times, 8/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.