Sens. Frist, Feingold at CSIS Forum Outline Proposals To Continue U.S. Global HIV/AIDS Programs Beyond PEFPAR
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), co-chairs of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Task Force on HIV/AIDS, on Thursday at a CSIS forum discussed proposals to sustain progress made by the five-year, $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which will enter its fourth year this fall, CQ HealthBeat reports. A second five-year phase of PEPFAR would begin in FY 2009, according to CQ HealthBeat. The task force seeks to "build bipartisan consensus" on moving forward with HIV/AIDS programs, especially in HIV prevention, according to CQ HealthBeat. Frist at the forum outlined three "opportunities" for proceeding with U.S. global HIV/AIDS programs beyond PEPFAR, including a five- to 10-year program to ensure low-cost access to clean water; the passage of a bill (S 850) he introduced that would develop a "global health corps" of health care professionals volunteering in developing countries; and the need to reach common ground on points of contention between HIV/AIDS advocates and evangelicals who are fighting the pandemic. Feingold stressed the need to improve HIV prevention programs, adding that programs that do not confront the issues of "sex and drugs" will not succeed. He said it also is imperative that the U.S. set financial contribution targets for HIV/AIDS programs and realize that it will cost more money to fight the pandemic than in previous years. According to CQ HealthBeat, some politicians and advocates have worried that "the world will lose heart" in the fighting the pandemic, but Feingold and Frist's status as potential 2008 presidential candidates "might help draw continuing attention to the issue" (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 7/14). CSIS released three policy briefings at the forum, one on sustaining HIV/AIDS funding, one on the health care worker deficit worldwide and one on expanding HIV/AIDS prevention programs (CSIS forum release, 7/13).
A kaisernetwork.org webcast of the event is available online.