Humanitarian, Political Consequences Result From U.S. Funding Delay for Global AIDS Initiative, Editorial Says
Although the "quickest and most effective way to put U.S. dollars to work" in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic would be to give money to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, President Bush seems "intent on setting up his own war on AIDS," which could mean "more delays" while the government establishes a program, a Newark Star-Ledger editorial says. Although Bush announced the five-year, $15 million global AIDS initiative during his 2003 State of the Union address, the government has yet to "write the check." According to the Star-Ledger, the funding "should have been handled as a stand-alone emergency appropriation," instead of being folded into the omnibus spending bill, which is "filled with pork-barrel measures and last-minute controversy." Even though action is being taken on the spending bill, there "will still be many ways to keep from spending what the administration does not want to spend," the Star-Ledger says, adding that the United States has been "pushing trade policies and patent protectionism that work against efforts to provide cheap generic anti-AIDS medication to those countries that need it." The editorial concludes, "We are still waiting for a sign that the president ... is serious about the war on AIDS," adding that the wealthiest countries in the world "cannot afford the humanitarian and political consequences of its current politics and lethargy" (Newark Star-Ledger, 1/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.