Editorial, Opinion Piece Urge Bush Administration, Congress To Increase Funding for HIV/AIDS, Global Health
A recent editorial and opinion piece urge the Bush administration and Congress to increase efforts to curb the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to increase aid to Africa. Summaries appear below.
New York Times: While President Bush "should be commended" for his efforts to increase aid to Africa by $3 billion, thus far this year has been "disgracefully short on anything resembling action," a Times editorial says. Bush should "go to Capitol Hill" and "demand" that his Millennium Challenge Account be fully financed, which would increase U.S. aid to developing countries that are committed to policies that promote development, according to the editorial (New York Times, 5/22). The MCA is a program meant to encourage economic and political reforms in developing countries (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/7). Bush also should "press Congress to finance the practical, ground-level aid efforts that have been shown to work," the editorial says, adding, "That means channeling real money" into programs, including those aiming to increase access to HIV/AIDS medications. The editorial concludes, "We dearly hope that ... Bush has the backbone to stand behind the promises he made and to press lawmakers in Washington to do the right thing" (New York Times, 5/22).
- Dean Jamison/Nancy Padian, Washington Post: "The U.S. has pledged more money to fight AIDS than any other country," write Jamison and Padian -- editor and co-author, respectively, of "Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries, Second Edition," a compendium of hundreds of studies of health interventions and strategies -- in a Post opinion piece. However, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief allocated "only 28% of its funds to prevention in 2005," and many of the government's policies on how that money is spent "fly in the face of scientific evidence on the effectiveness and cost of prevention strategies," according to Jamison and Padian. The DCP2 reaches five conclusions regarding recommended HIV prevention strategies that the U.S. government either opposes or does not follow: abstinence and fidelity programs are niether "effective [n]or cost-effective"; condom distribution is inexpensive and "known to prevent HIV transmission"; societies need to reduce the social discrimination and stigma surrounding HIV-positive people; needle-exchange programs have proven to be "highly effective" in preventing the spread of HIV among injection drug users; and public health interventions must be tested by "empirical evaluations of [their] actual effectiveness," the opinion piece says. Jamison and Padian write, "Billions of dollars can be poorly spent, and thousands of deaths incurred, from failure to consider the existing evidence and failure to gather evidence of effectiveness from existing interventions" (Jamison/Padian, Washington Post, 5/20).