Increased U.S. Funding for HIV/AIDS, Malaria Praiseworthy, But Should Go to Global Fund, Editorial Says
President Bush and Congress deserve praise for their efforts to increase U.S. funding to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria abroad, but the U.S. government should work to "loosen the strings ... that hamper the funding's effectiveness," a Des Moines Register editorial says. Specifically, the Bush administration "could do a better job" of spending its money by shifting funding from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to promote global partnerships to fight the epidemics, the editorial says. PEPFAR operates in fewer countries than the Global Fund and is "mired down in politics," including controversies over promoting abstinence versus condoms and FDA approval for the purchase of generic versions of antiretroviral drugs, according to the Register. The Global Fund incorporates governments, local communities, medical groups, religious organizations, and people affected by HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in the fight against the diseases worldwide, the editorial says. The United States "deserves credit for stepping up AIDS funding in recent years," but "it could do more" on a global level, the editorial says, adding that Congress should approve Bush's proposal to spend $1.2 billion over five years to fight malaria in Africa. However, the money should go to the Global Fund, "the largest and best-organized player in fighting malaria," the editorial says (Des Moines Register, 7/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.