United States Leading World Response in Fight Against HIV/AIDS Through Global Fund, PEPFAR Support, Opinion Piece Says
The United States, under the leadership of President Bush, is acting with "courage and compassion" in facing the global "tragedy" of HIV/AIDS through "swift action and extraordinary financial commitment," U.S. Ambassador Randall Tobias, head of the State Department Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, writes in an Albuquerque Tribune opinion piece in response to a commentary criticizing the Bush administration that was published Oct. 21 in the Tribune (Tobias, Albuquerque Tribune, 10/30). In that piece, Heidi Topp Brooks and Roxanne Allen, who are volunteer citizen lobbyists with the Albuquerque, N.M., chapter of the advocacy group RESULTS, wrote that withholding funds from the Global Fund under a stipulation in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief could "seriously undermine" the fund's work and result in 100,000 new HIV infections worldwide, and leave 25,000 patients without needed medication. Topp Brooks and Allen wrote that although PEPFAR is "laudable," the program is "limited" because it only includes 15 countries and does not adequately address tuberculosis (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/25). According to Tobias, PEPFAR provides funding for treatment, prevention and care, including antiretroviral drug treatment, for people in more than 100 nations -- with a focus on 15 countries. This year, the United States has provided $2.4 billion to the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tobias says, adding that the United States also is "by far the largest donor nation" in the world to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "Bush has completely changed the landscape of this issue. America has put the global AIDS crisis on the world's agenda and moved the world's response to a new level," Tobias writes. Tobias writes that the "pace and intensity" of the United States' efforts in support of the global fight against AIDS are "simply unprecedented," concluding, "Our nation is leading the world's response to HIV/AIDS, and we will not let up" (Albuquerque Tribune, 10/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.