U.S. Sen. Obama To Call for More Funding for Microbicides, HIV/AIDS Education, Nutrition Programs, Adviser Says
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) during his visit to Kenya and South Africa as part of a two-week visit to Africa said he wants to increase the proportion of HIV/AIDS funding for nutrition for HIV-positive people, as well as increase support for HIV/AIDS education and outreach campaigns and the development of microbicides, according to Obama's foreign policy adviser Mark Lippert, the AP/Belleville News Democrat reports (Wills, AP/Belleville News Democrat, 8/30). Obama, who is traveling as part of a congressional delegation, on Saturday in Kenya publicly took an HIV test to help combat the stigma surrounding the virus. The senator was asked by CDC to take the test. His wife, Michelle, also received an HIV test, and both tests were negative. The couple underwent counseling after the test to encourage other couples to do so (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/28). Following Obama's public HIV test, Michael Ranneberger, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, and a popular politician in the Kisumu region said they plan to undergo an HIV test, the AP/ News Democrat reports. Peter Agulo -- mayor of Homa Bay, Kenya -- said leaders in the country will use Obama's HIV test to encourage people to get tested, adding that many people now will "come without fear" to learn their HIV status. In addition, HIV/AIDS advocates who met with Obama during his trip said they want to focus on educating teenagers about how to avoid high-risk behaviors and to increase support for HIV-positive people to fight the spread of the virus, according to the AP/ News Democrat. "I see nothing but upsides for the fight against HIV in Senator Obama's visit," Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, adding, "The senator's emphasis on underlying cultural, social and economic issues like stigma and women's rights is right on target" (AP/Belleville News Democrat, 8/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.