Clinton at Conference Reiterates Commitment To Invest $50B To Fight Global HIV/AIDS
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Thursday at an HIV/AIDS conference hosted by Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., reiterated her commitment to invest $50 billion to fight HIV/AIDS, the Los Angeles Times reports (Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times, 11/30).
Clinton in a plan released earlier this week proposed to spend at least $50 billion by 2013 on initiatives to fight HIV/AIDS worldwide. Clinton's plan also will propose doubling funding for HIV/AIDS research at NIH to $5.2 billion annually (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/27). According to David Bryden, a spokesperson for the Global AIDS Alliance, Clinton's plan would increase U. S. spending to fight HIV/AIDS by about 20%. He added that all of the Democratic presidential candidates have committed to the same funding proposal.
Clinton in her speech to more than 1,700 attendees on Thursday said that HIV/AIDS "remains a plague of biblical proportions," adding that where "ignorance and prejudice builds, AIDS thrives." She said that stigma related to the disease is "one of the real evils that has to be combated" and that part of the solution to the pandemic is to teach " abstinence, be faithful and use condoms if necessary" (Los Angeles Times, 11/30). Clinton also pledged to double the number of people worldwide who receive HIV/AIDS treatment through U.S. funding (Gerstein, New York Sun, 11/30). In addition, Clinton said that "it is long past time that we do everything we can to stand up for the proposition that women's rights are human rights." She added, "Girls denied their human rights are girls at risk for AIDS" (Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/30).
In addition, Clinton said that if elected president, she would try to eradicate malaria deaths in Africa within eight years. She also said that she would commit $1 billion annually for global malaria control efforts (Blood, AP/Google.com, 11/30). "AIDS will not be defeated until medical systems in developing countries are relieved of the burdens caused by malaria," Clinton said, adding, "It is appalling that more than one million people die every year from a bug bite and nearly all of them are children" (New York Sun, 11/30).
Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), both of whom also are running for the Democratic presidential nomination, gave videotaped speeches that were shown after Clinton's speech. According to the Times, Edwards and Obama "hammered on their desire to curb pharmaceutical company profits on AIDS drugs and make lower-cost generic medications more widely available" (Los Angeles Times, 11/30).
Republican presidential candidates former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) also addressed the conference through videos, the Chronicle reports (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/30). Romney and McCain praised AIDS efforts launched by President Bush, according to the Times. McCain said that he would favor continuing an "abstinence-only approach" to sex education in U.S. efforts abroad (Los Angeles Times, 11/30).