Former President Clinton Using ‘Celebrity Clout’ To Combat Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Former President Clinton is using his "celebrity clout and fundraising prowess to fight AIDS" throughout the world "as never before" and is beginning to "show ... the leadership" on the epidemic some HIV/AIDS advocates "wanted to see during his presidency," the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that the Clinton administration's approach to HIV/AIDS during the 1990s would be remembered as "distracted and unfocused." However, Morrison added that "Clinton's popularity and the esteem with which he is held in India, China and Southern and Eastern Africa is an enormous advantage in entering conversations on AIDS" (Hammer, AP/Long Island Newsday, 6/2). The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation's HIV/AIDS Initiative in October 2003 secured a deal with five generic drug makers to reduce the cost of commonly used three-drug antiretroviral regimens. The foundation in April agreed to a pricing program to make fixed-dose combination antiretrovirals available in more than 100 countries at about one-third to one-half of the cost of the lowest price currently offered. The foundation also is working with the World Food Programme to provide food to HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/10). Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative Chair Ira Magaziner, who served as a policy aide during the Clinton administration, said that Clinton "did more on the AIDS front during the '90s than any other leader in the world," adding, "[H]aving said that, we would all say that none of us understood the magnitude of what was happening in Africa until '99-2000." Magaziner said, "As much as I and others can work hard and organize well, we can never get near as far as we've gotten without President Clinton mobilizing people. When he goes to a place, he's like a rock star, and we pulled together close to 100 volunteers because of him" (AP/Long Island Newsday, 6/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.