Kerry Calls for Doubling of U.S. Funding for Global HIV/AIDS Efforts, Ending Ban on Immigrants With HIV
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) on Saturday said that if elected he would double U.S. funding for global HIV/AIDS programs and would seek to lift a U.S. ban on HIV-positive immigrants, Agence France-Presse reports. In a statement released to coincide with the opening of the XV International AIDS Conference, which is being held in Bangkok, Thailand, Kerry said, "I will turn up the diplomatic pressure to seek similar increases from our partners. I will provide rapid distribution of quality medicines, including generic affordable, safe and effective drugs" (Agence France-Presse, 7/10). "We cannot fight AIDS without adequate weapons to prevent new infections and without providing treatment for the millions already living with HIV and AIDS. "The Bush administration has hampered U.S. efforts with policies created to appease its political constituencies, putting ideology before science," Kerry said in the statement(Kerry campaign release, 7/10). President Bush last year annouced his five-year, $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which some AIDS advocates have criticized for its slow response and emphasis on abstinence-only education (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/25). Kerry said he also would "work with Congress to lift the immigration ban on HIV-positive people that has prohibited the United States from hosting" the International AIDS conference. The United States tests all new immigrants for HIV, and if an immigrant tests positive for the disease, he or she generally is denied admission, according to Agence France-Presse (Agence France-Presse, 7/10). "As president, I will work side by side with our international partners, faith-based, nongovernmental, affected communities and private sector groups in order to strengthen the capacity for sustained response by those on the front lines," Kerry said, adding, "A 'go it alone' approach to the war on AIDS is not how we will succeed; only in partnership can we have a chance of defeating this deadly disease" (Kerry campaign release, 7/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.