Clinton Signs Pledge To Commit To Fight Against HIV/AIDS
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, recently signed a pledge to commit to investing $50 billion by 2013 to fight HIV/AIDS domestically and worldwide, the New York Times reports. Clinton also plans to issue a formal policy on the disease, according to the Times (Seelye, "The Caucus," New York Times, 10/26).
The Global AIDS Alliance Fund and other groups have called on U.S. presidential candidates to sign the pledge, which asks candidates to commit $50 billion to HIV/AIDS efforts. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) was the first candidate to sign the pledge. On the groups' Web site -- 08stopaids.org -- there is a citizen's pledge that calls on voters to urge the next U.S. president to "create, support and fund a comprehensive plan to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/22).
According to the Times, ACT UP, an HIV/AIDS advocacy coalition, had been planning a demonstration on Tuesday in Philadelphia -- where the Democratic candidates are scheduled to participate in a debate -- to protest Clinton because she had not signed the pledge. Clinton signed the pledge shortly after being contacted by the Times. According to a statement from Clinton's campaign, she has "been working on a formal AIDS policy that she will be unveiling in the near future." The statement added that Clinton "already supports investing $50 billion over the next five years to fight global AIDS and advocates a comprehensive approach to fighting AIDS both here and abroad."
According to the Times, former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), both of whom are running for the Democratic presidential nomination, have not signed the pledge. Kaytee Riek -- a member of ACT UP and Health GAP, which is co-sponsoring the Tuesday demonstration -- said the demonstration originally had been directed toward Clinton rather than the other candidates because "she's the front-runner," even though she has had a "spectacular" record on HIV/AIDS policy. Riek added that because Clinton has signed the pledge, the focus of the demonstration likely will shift to encouraging all candidates to discuss HIV/AIDS during their campaigns.
Edwards was the first candidate to issue a comprehensive, $50 billion HIV/AIDS plan, the Times reports. Obama has said that if elected, he would increase foreign spending to $50 billion annually for several projects, including increased treatment access for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Obama in his "millennium development goals" said he would "dedicate as much funding to HIV/AIDS as possible ... to ensure a comprehensive fight against this global pandemic" ("The Caucus," New York Times, 10/26).