Spending Federal Money To Send People to International AIDS Conference ‘Leaves Less To Spend on AIDS,’ Editorial Says
Using federal funding to subsidize U.S. officials' trips to the XV International AIDS Conference in July in Bangkok, Thailand, "leaves less to spend on AIDS," a Florida Times-Union editorial says (Florida Times-Union, 4/16). HHS in March announced it would spend $500,000 to send 50 people to the conference, down from the $3.6 million spent to send 236 people to the 2002 conference in Barcelona, Spain. HHS spokesperson Bill Pierce said that spending for the Barcelona conference was "excessive" and that the 50-person cap allows 10 more people to go to the conference than HHS policy usually allows for international delegations. Staff already stationed in Southeast Asia are exempt from the cap, and individuals who are giving keynote speeches or presenting papers have priority, Pierce said (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/30). "No reasonable person questions this country's commitment to fighting AIDS," the Times-Union says, noting that Congress allocated $18.5 billion on AIDS programs this year. However, CDC and NIH think the $500,000 allowance is "outrageous" because it "isn't enough," the editorial says, concluding, "Surely, modern science has not discovered so much about AIDS in the past two years that 50 experts would be incapable of obtaining new information and bringing it back to this country, where they could share it with colleagues" (Florida Times-Union, 4/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.