U.S. Should Show Same Commitment to AIDS That It Shows to Terrorism Prevention, Annan Says
The United States should give the same funding commitment to combating HIV/AIDS as it does to antiterrorism efforts, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday in an interview with BBC World Service on the sidelines of the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand (Gracie, BBC World Service, 7/13). While the United States is spending large amounts of money on terrorism prevention, it has not fulfilled its promise to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, Annan said, according to BBC News. He added that he hopes the United States can contribute $1 billion per year to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the European Union can contribute an additional $1 billion, BBC News reports (BBC News, 7/13). "[W]e hear a lot about terrorism. And we are worried about weapons of mass destruction because of their potential to kill thousands. What is the response?" he said. According to Annan, the Untied States has "natural leadership capacity" because of its resources and size. Annan said he has spoken with President Bush about global HIV/AIDS funding. He said that Bush was "engaged" and "quite moved ... but of course now we need a step forward to put resources to it" (Associated Press, 7/13). Bush last year announced the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a five-year, $15 billion plan to fight HIV/AIDS in 14 African and Caribbean countries and Vietnam (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/23). Annan said that while the donations to the Global Fund are large, they are not enough to reach the group's goal (Asia Pacific News Agencies, 7/13).
AIDS advocates "cheer[ed]" Annan's remarks on Tuesday, according to an AIDS Policy Project release. "The world's pre-eminent diplomat has just accused the world's most powerful government of failing to stop the deaths of thousands of people," Kate Krauss of the AIDS Policy Project said, adding, "It's true, and perhaps this statement will spur a closer, more critical examination of the Bush administration's AIDS policies" (AIDS Policy Project release, 7/13). However, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the United States is working to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic (VOA News, 7/13). Randall Tobias, head of the State Department's Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, said, "The president has requested $200 million for next year, and I think that is more than adequate to meet the requirements of the Global Fund in terms of getting money out for putting programs in place (Hirschler, Reuters/Yahoo! News, 7/14).
BBC's "World Update": The segment includes comments from Fauci (Buchan, "World Update," BBC, 7/13). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
WBUR's "On Point": The segment includes comments from David Gartner, policy director at the Global AIDS Alliance ("On Point," WBUR, 7/13). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer, Quicktime and Windows Media.
"The World" -- a production of BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston: The segment includes comments from Greg Berman, author of the book "The Invisible People: How the U.S. Has Slept Through The Global AIDS Pandemic"; Annan; and Fauci (Clark, "The World," PRI, 7/13). The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.