Bush AIDS Plan ‘Circumvents’ Global Fund To ‘Please Conservative Friends,’ Editorial Says
Despite the fact that four million people are expected to die of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria over the next eight months, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has announced that it will make no new grants in that time, which is "ostensibly the result of concerns raised by the United States and Great Britain over the fund's liquidity," a St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial says (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/19). Fund officials on Thursday at a meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, decided that it will award its fourth round of grants in June 2004, which is five months earlier than a plan supported by the United States and some other countries. U.S. officials had said that the fund should delay the fourth round of grant awards until it has a more accurate accounting of its means (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/17). President Bush seems determined to "use his $15 billion pledge to shore up support from conservative Christian groups," by earmarking $1 billion for abstinence-only education, but those plans are "sure to fail" because they "ignor[e] the grim realities of life in sub-Saharan Africa, where women are frequently infected by their husbands," the editorial says. In addition, if Bush had directed AIDS funding into the Global Fund instead of "circumventing it to please conservative friends," the fund would not be facing a liquidity problem, according to the Post-Dispatch. According to the editorial, "It makes sense to work through the fund, which has an established track record, rather than setting up duplicative bureaucracies," concluding, "Delay in the face of so many preventable deaths is inexcusable" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.