Bush Must Develop Long-Term Global AIDS Plan, Including Health Care Infrastructure Improvement, Commentary Says
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief will begin to address many of the challenges posed by the global AIDS epidemic, but it "stands little chance of turning [the] tide" of the epidemic, Greg Behrman, author of "The Invisible People: How the U.S. Has Slept Through the Global AIDS Pandemic, the Greatest Humanitarian Catastrophe of Our Time," writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece. Although the plan probably will "produce much-needed near-term results," the "cardinal -- and immeasurably fatal -- flaw of the administration's program ... is that it is only an emergency plan, not a long-term strategy to defeat global HIV/AIDS," Behrman says. President Bush must develop a "simultaneous second track ... to fund and organize the more comprehensive and critical effort of building sustainable health infrastructure," Behrman says. Otherwise, when the plan ends, the countries "will be no better off in their ability to test, treat and care for the additional tens of millions of people who will still be in desperate need of help," he writes. The United States and other countries "must move now," Behrman says. "The commitment is affordable, the threat is dire and the opportunity is incomparable," he says, concluding, "In addressing the enormous need for health infrastructure, the United States and its international partners could chart a strategy that would save countless lives, provide a prodigious boost to global economic output and help safeguard the United States and people around the world from one of the gravest threats known to mankind" (Behrman, Los Angeles Times, 3/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.