Wealthy Nations Should Increase Global HIV/AIDS Spending, Editorial Says
"Now that the Group of Eight industrialized nations has pledged to commit $60 billion to combat AIDS and other diseases around the world in coming years," Congress and "other national legislatures ought to look hard for additional funds to close a looming gap between the funds committed and the needs of desperate patients," a New York Times editorial says. Donor nations have "greatly increased their funding for AIDS programs in recent years in belated recognition that the epidemic threatens to destroy not just its victims but also the social and economic fabric of many countries in sub-Saharan Africa," the editorial says. Although President Bush's recent proposal for a $30 billion, five-year extension of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is a positive move, the funding request "represents only a modest increase from the spending trajectory" the U.S. already was on, according to the Times. The U.S. has been "by far the largest AIDS donor in recent years, providing almost half of the funding commitments made by donor governments," the editorial says, adding, "But when measured against the size of the national economy, the American donations rank only fifth. There is room to do more."
The G8 pledge and Bush's PEPFAR proposal will not be "enough to keep up with the devastating epidemics" of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, the editorial says, adding that tens of "billions of dollars more will be needed to provide treatment, care and preventive services for AIDS alone over the next five years." As Congress this year "wrestles" with the fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills, it should "provide the full $1.3 billion being sought by congressional health advocates" for the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the editorial says, concluding that Congress also should "set the nation -- and by its example, the world -- on course toward universal access to AIDS treatment by 2010" (New York Times, 6/18).