Boston Globe Examines Debate Over PEPFAR Progress, Funding Requirements
The Boston Globe on Sunday examined the "politically polarized bickering" between many international HIV/AIDS advocates and the U.S. government over the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. According to the Globe, few HIV/AIDS advocates attending the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto last week "wanted to give the U.S. any of the credit" for fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa, and many U.S. officials said the debate could "threate[n] to impede national and international funding for AIDS programs." Some HIV/AIDS advocates have been "hammering at what they perceive as faults" of PEPFAR -- including the slow progress of U.S.-funded treatment programs, the "U.S. preference for funding faith-based groups," and the requirement that one-third of all prevention funds go toward abstinence-until-marriage programs -- the Globe reports. However, the debate over PEPFAR is "rarely heard" in Africa, where health workers in U.S.-funded AIDS programs have a "sense of energy and optimism" about "finding new ways to treat people, prevent new infections and care for the ill," according to the Globe. In addition, because churches run many of Africa's hospitals, PEPFAR's collaboration with faith-based groups and traditional healers is based on "pragmatism," the Globe reports. "Civil society is only just beginning to emerge in Namibia," Lucy Steinitz, former head of Catholic AIDS Action, said, adding, "So what's left? Church is it. I have a lot of skeptical friends back in the U.S. about the funding of faith-based groups, but it works here." The efficacy HIV/AIDS programs funded by the U.S. and other donors "will in great part rest on whether they can find a comprehensive approach" to reduce the number of new HIV cases, according to the Globe (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 8/20).
Kaisernetwork.org served as the official webcaster of the conference. View the guide to coverage and all webcasts, interviews and a daily video round up of conference highlights at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/aids2006.