Congress Should Provide PEPFAR Money ‘Up Front’ To Help Provide Treatment, Opinion Piece Says
Although President Bush has pledged $15 billion over five years for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the need for funding is "urgent," and the United States should provide as much funding as possible "up front," columnist Trudy Rubin writes in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece. While some countries, such as Uganda, have implemented "successful formula[s]" to increase HIV prevention efforts, many countries still need funding for treatment, Rubin says. Approximately 28.5 million HIV-positive people live in sub-Saharan Africa, but only 70,000 people are receiving antiretroviral treatment, according to Rubin. Many people in Africa and the Caribbean "are dying from lack of medication," and some people do not get tested for HIV because they know they will not have access to treatment, Rubin says, adding that even "as the chances to combine prevention and treatment improve ... time is short." Additional funding could allow countries to "develop the necessary infrastructure" to roll out antiretroviral treatment, Rubin says, concluding, "The cost of waging this war [on HIV/AIDS] is a pittance compared with that of fighting terrorism. But victory could save as many as 100 million lives" (Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.