U.S. Should Provide ‘Fair Share’ to Global Fund, Global AIDS Alliance President Says
The United States should contribute its "fair share" to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to combat the "rapidly expanding" AIDS epidemic in Russia and other countries, Global AIDS Alliance President Paul Zeitz writes in a USA Today letter to the editor. Zeitz says that although international donors are "stepping up" assistance to groups in Russia to address the epidemic, an April 20 USA Today article omitted a "crucial fact" about the situation in the country (Zeitz, USA Today, 4/28). USA Today last week examined government and grassroots efforts to provide HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services in Russia. Estonia, Russia and Ukraine are facing increasing HIV prevalence rates, according to a report released in February by the United Nations Development Programme. Although government-sponsored HIV/AIDS prevention efforts "are virtually non-existent" in Russia, the region is receiving increased funding from the World Bank, the Global Fund and the United States for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs, according to USA Today (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/20). However, the article failed to mention that the Bush administration has proposed reducing by 64% the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund, Zeitz says, adding that if the cut is made, the Global Fund "won't be able to continue its support for effective programs in Russia and elsewhere." According to Zeitz, Russia's "weak response" to the HIV/AIDS epidemic is "extremely disturbing," but the Untied States "cannot fight the global AIDS crisis on its own." When the United States donates to the fund, it "encourages European and other donors to step up to the plate," Zeitz says, concluding that this is why "channeling more of our support through a cost-effective program such as the Global Fund is so important" (USA Today, 4/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.