U.S. Needs ‘Strong’ Presidential Leadership To Continue Fight Against HIV/AIDS Pandemic, Opinion Piece Says
If the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is to "expand to help ensure everyone who needs AIDS-related care can get it, we will need to see strong leadership" after President Bush leaves office, Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Christian Alliance, writes in a Des Moines Register opinion piece. Scheffler adds that is why he believes it is "incumbent on all candidates vying to become the leader of the free world, regardless of their party affiliation, to explain in detail how they would carry [PEPFAR] forward during their term in office."
"Thanks to the support" of PEPFAR, African organizations, including many churches, are having a "broad-based impact" on HIV/AIDS by providing education about issues such as agricultural productivity and sustainability, medical care, community leadership and abstinence, Scheffler writes. PEPFAR is "crucial in laying the basis for broader, sustained success by faith-based groups" in fighting HIV/AIDS and other diseases in developing countries, he adds, noting that by the end of 2008 the U.S. will be providing antiretroviral treatment to about one-third of those who need it. "Will all candidates pledge to sustain that level of support if they are elected president?" Scheffler asks.
"The needs of our brothers and sisters transcend politics," Scheffler writes, adding, "Although great headway has been made through the service of Christians, the global Christian community's efforts on care for orphans and those suffering from disease still have a long road ahead." Scheffler concludes that the U.S.'s "moral obligation and strategic imperative are to protect life and help those in need, and we will need presidential leadership to achieve lasting success" (Scheffler, Des Moines Register, 1/2).