Clark To Propose Doubling U.S. Spending on Global AIDS, TB, Malaria to $30B Over Five Years
Democratic presidential candidate and retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark on Monday -- in recognition of World AIDS Day -- was expected to introduce a plan to increase to $30 billion over five years U.S. funding to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases worldwide, the New York Times reports (Wyatt, New York Times, 12/1). The four-part strategy, which he is calling his "Global AIDS Security Policy," would double the U.S. commitment to fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and allocate a "large majority" of the funding to multilateral approaches such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Clark's plan would offer financial incentives for pharmaceutical companies working on vaccines for AIDS and other infectious diseases, according to a Clark fact sheet (Clark fact sheet, 12/1). The five-year plan would be partially subsidized by rescinding recent tax cuts, Clark aides said (New York Times, 12/1). The plan would also overturn the so-called "global gag rule" (Clark fact sheet, 12/1). The policy, which is also known as the Mexico City policy, bars U.S. money from international groups that support abortion through direct services, counseling or lobbying activities. President Bush in August issued an executive order that prevents the State Department from giving family planning grants to international groups that provide abortion-related counseling, effectively extending the Mexico City policy, which previously applied only to USAID. However, the new order exempts agencies in Africa and the Caribbean that would benefit from Bush's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/25). "AIDS is not a moral issue. It's a national security issue. We must make sure the scourge doesn't reverse gains in the developing world and turn developing states into terrorist breeding grounds. If we don't fight AIDS with medicine and preventive measures, one day, we might have to fight AIDS-induced disorder[s] with the force of arms," Clark said (Clark release, 12/1).
Other Democratic presidential candidates were also expected to discuss proposals to increase financing for AIDS on Monday (New York Times, 12/1). The Global AIDS Alliance in advance of World AIDS Day announced that all nine Democratic presidential candidates have endorsed a pledge to commit $30 billion to fight AIDS, TB and malaria by 2008, according to a Global AIDS Alliance release. The pledge, based on a Stop AIDS Platform initiated by Health GAP, Student Global AIDS Campaign and the American Medical Students Association, also commits the candidates to providing funding for programs for AIDS orphans and supporting increased debt cancellation, a trade policy upholding the World Trade Organization's Doha declaration and the empowerment of women and girls. The Stop AIDS Platform has been endorsed by more than 100 organizations, including Physicians for Human Rights, RESULTS, the National Organization for Women, the United Methodist Church and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights (Global AIDS Alliance release, 11/25).
Additional information on World AIDS Day -- including webcasts; access to studies and key facts; and links to resources and organizations around the world -- can be found online on kaisernetwork.org.