President Bush Should Increase Funding for Domestic HIV/AIDS Programs, Editorial Says
Although the HIV/AIDS pandemic has "seemingly fallen off [President Bush's] radar," he "can look out his window today" and see 8,500 pairs of shoes that represent the number of people worldwide who die each day of AIDS-related causes, according to a Detroit Free Press editorial. The Campaign to End AIDS, which is coordinating the "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" event on Thursday, is urging Bush to increase federal funding for domestic HIV/AIDS programs, including the Ryan White CARE Act, the editorial says. The estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States has increased over the past decade, but treatment and prevention programs are "treated as if they are simply can-do-with-less discretionary expenditures," the Free Press says. CDC in fiscal year 2005 will receive $46 million for HIV prevention initiatives -- down from $47 million in FY 2004 -- and the administration has requested the same amount in its FY 2006 budget proposal, according to the editorial. In addition, the federal Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative's budget was cut by $5 million in 2005, and Bush has proposed the same level of funding for the initiative for FY 2006, the editorial says, adding that the decreases come despite the fact that in many areas of the country African Americans are seven times as likely as their white counterparts to be HIV-positive. HIV/AIDS organizations also need increased funding "on the front end" for prevention programs that could help reduce the number of new HIV cases, according to the Free Press. "If more Americans are contracting AIDS, more money -- not less -- should be devoted to fighting it," the editorial says, adding, "This is a nationwide epidemic, requiring a dedicated, increasing source of funding" (Detroit Free Press, 5/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.