Kerry Victory Would ‘Profoundly’ Affect World’s Response to HIV/AIDS, U.N. Envoy for AIDS in Africa Says
A victory for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) in Tuesday's election would "profoundly affect the world's response to AIDS," U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis has said, according to the Toronto Star (Ross, Toronto Star, 10/30). President Bush last year launched the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which is a five-year, $15 billion program that directs funding to 15 focus countries, including the African nations of Botswana, Ethiopia, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia; Haiti and Guyana in the Caribbean; and Vietnam in Asia. Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) has said that he and Kerry want to double the amount of PEPFAR funding to $30 billion (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/6). If Kerry is elected, some of the money could be used in countries that are not considered to be current focus countries under PEPFAR, such as Swaziland, Lesotho and Malawi, according to the Star. Lewis, a former Canadian politician and diplomat, said that the U.S. election is a matter of "mortal concern" for the people of Africa, and the Canadian position on HIV/AIDS would become "much more feasible" if Kerry becomes president, the Star reports.
Sexual Education Emphasis
Lewis also said that a Kerry administration likely would promote a "more realistic" approach to sex education by encouraging condom use as well as abstinence and monogamy, according to the Star (Toronto Star, 10/30). Bush believes that condoms are not always the best method to prevent the spread of HIV, and he and his congressional allies have supported funding for groups that promote abstinence, USA Today reported on Thursday. Kerry has alleged that Bush puts ideology ahead of science by requiring government-funded HIV prevention groups to point out condom failure rates in their education programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/28).
Kerry also would permit the U.S. government to purchase and distribute generic drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, the Star reports (Toronto Star, 10/30). According to data from a draft Government Accountability Office report released on Thursday, the U.S. government currently is paying more than twice as much for many antiretroviral drugs for its global HIV/AIDS program as other international aid organizations. The report, which is based on a survey of antiretroviral drug companies, shows that because the Bush administration will not purchase generic forms of many antiretroviral drugs, it is paying higher prices than other international HIV/AIDS programs, including programs funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the World Bank. The data from the draft report was provided to the media by Senate Democrats, who have criticized the Bush administration for not purchasing generic drugs manufactured in India. Public release of the report is expected after the Bush administration submits formal comments to GAO (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/29).