AIDS Advocates in South Africa, United States Protest Bush Administration’s AIDS Policies
AIDS advocates in South Africa and the United States on Thursday held protests calling on the Bush administration to expand its efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, the AP/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports. About 500 advocates in Johannesburg and about 350 people in Cape Town protested in front of the U.S. consulates in those cities. Advocates in the United States protested at the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City and at President Bush's re-election campaign headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa.; Manchester, N.H.; and Southfield, Mich. The advocates said that although Bush has promised several billion dollars for the fight against AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, only $350 million actually has been released. In addition, the advocates criticized Bush's support for abstinence-only sex education. "It's not enough to say abstinence only," Laurie Wen of Health GAP said, adding, "That's like saying we're not going to do anything for lung cancer, you just have to quit (smoking)." Advocates at the Johannesburg protest said that Bush "undermined" the fight against AIDS by limiting access to condoms, reproductive health care and generic drugs, according to the AP/Democrat and Chronicle. Mark Heywood, secretary of the South African treatment advocacy group Treatment Action Campaign, said that the "unlawful war in Iraq" has "divert[ed] international attention and resources away from global health and poverty." White House spokesperson Ken Lisaius said that the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief "is helping some of the most affected countries around the world ... and it's helping to extend and save lives of people afflicted with this disease" (Leonard, AP/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 6/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.