Edwards Unveils Strategy for Combating HIV/AIDS in U.S., Worldwide
Former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Monday at a health care forum in Washington, D.C., unveiled a plan for combating HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and worldwide, the Washington Post reports (Bacon, Washington Post, 9/25). The forum, sponsored by Families USA and the Federation of American Hospitals, over the next few months will host presidential candidates from both parties individually in one-hour webcast forums in which a media panel will ask the candidates questions about their health care proposals (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 9/20).
Edwards on Monday called for spending $50 billion over five years on HIV/AIDS treatment and re-assessing whether to use World Health Organization standards, rather than FDA standards, to speed the availability of new antiretroviral drugs (Lowy, AP/Google.com, 9/24). According to Edwards' campaign Web site, the funding would be used to provide preventive and treatment drugs for HIV/AIDS, as well as malaria and tuberculosis (Edwards Web site, 9/25).
Edwards also said that as president, he would expand Medicaid to cover HIV-positive people before they progress to AIDS or are otherwise disabled; increase resources to combat the spread of the virus among blacks and Hispanics; ensure "age-appropriate" sex education; and lift the ban on federal funding for needle exchange initiatives (Leys, Des Moines Register, 9/25). He also called for a Cabinet-level post on global poverty (Washington Post, 9/25).
Edwards also discussed his plan for universal health care. "We can't talk seriously about ending HIV/AIDS without guaranteeing health for every single man, woman and child in America," Edwards said, adding, "If you don't have health insurance -- good health insurance -- you are substantially more likely to die from this disease" (Leys, Des Moines Register, 9/25).
According to the current schedule for the forums, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) will appear on Oct. 25; Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will appear on Oct. 31; Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will appear on Nov. 1; and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) will appear on Nov. 7. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) also have agreed to participate in the forums. The sponsors of the forums have invited all of the presidential candidates to participate.
Susan Dentzer of PBS' "The News Hour With Jim Lehrer" will moderate the forums, and additional panelists will include Julie Rovner of NPR, Laurie McGinley of the Wall Street Journal and Timothy Johnson of ABC News.
The Kaiser Family Foundation will host the forums in its Barbara Jordan Conference Center in Washington, D.C. Kaiser will webcast the forums live through kaisernetwork.org, its health policy news and information service. Live and archived webcasts, as well as additional information about the forums, are available on a dedicated Web site, http://presidentialforums.health08.org. The forums are being funded by The California Endowment and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 9/20).
A Webcast of the forum is available online. An exclusive interview with Edwards also is available online at health08.org, a site from the Kaiser Family Foundation following health issues and the election.