Washington Post Editorial Gave President Bush’s Emergency AIDS Plan Unmerited Credit, Letter to Editor Says
A Jan. 22 Washington Post editorial "correctly noted President Bush's failure to provide an update" in his State of the Union address on emergency AIDS funding, but it improperly "credited the president for the latest spending increase," David Bryden, communications director for the Global AIDS Alliance, writes in a Post letter to the editor (Bryden, Washington Post, 2/1). The Post editorial stated that the Bush administration has been "ramping up its effort in a serious way," noting that AIDS-related spending has increased five-fold during Bush's term. The Post also said the Bush administration's requirement that one-third of AIDS spending be used to fund abstinence programs is "pronounced but not outrageous" and that it "makes sense to give a large slice of the money" to agencies other than the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/22). Bryden responds that Bush "fought emergency spending" on AIDS and that the total amount spent on AIDS, TB and malaria in fiscal year 2004 will total $2.4 billion only "because members of Mr. Bush's own party ignored his opposition." As a result, one year after Bush announced his global AIDS initiative, "only a tiny fraction of the two million people the president promised would receive life-saving medications" actually have received them. "The question is not whether the United States is spending more than in previous years to fight AIDS; it is whether we are providing a fair contribution to a global effort," Bryden says, concluding that the United States is "not on track to provide even ... a 'bare-bones' response" to the AIDS pandemic (Washington Post, 2/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.