Sen. DeWine Says ‘Deeply Troubling, Gut Wrenching’ Africa Trip Shows Need To Act on Global HIV/AIDS
Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) last Tuesday during a speech in the Senate said that his recent "deeply troubling, gut wrenching" trip to Africa demonstrated the importance of moving quickly "but wisely" on appropriating funds to address the global AIDS epidemic, the Columbus Dispatch reports (Riskind, Columbus Dispatch, 8/7). DeWine was part of a six-member congressional delegation, which also included Sens. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and John Warner (R-Va.), that traveled last month to South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia to meet with government and public health officials, physicians and HIV-positive people and their families (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/5). Although the measure (HR 1298) supporting President Bush's five-year, $15 billion initiative to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean authorizes $3 billion for the first year of the program, the Bush administration has requested only $2 billion. While on the trip, Frist expressed support for $2 billion that a Senate committee has approved to fight HIV/AIDS in fiscal year 2004 as part of the initiative. However, some AIDS advocates and congressional Democrats have said that $2 billion for the first year is $1 billion short of the amount needed. The House has approved a total of $2 billion for the AIDS initiative in FY 2004 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/29). DeWine said, "As we start to plan how to spend this significant amount of money, we are at a very critical stage. It is very important that this be done right and that it be done quickly because millions of lives are at stake." He added, "We need to do all we can to address the human tragedy of global AIDS. ... Time is not on our side" (Columbus Dispatch, 9/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.