Obama, Clinton Call for Allocating More Resources To Fight Spread of HIV/AIDS
Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Sunday both called for allocating more resources to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, AFP/Google.com reports (AFP/Google.com, 4/14). The Democratic presidential candidates' comments came during a forum at Messiah College that was sponsored by Faith in Public Life, the Hartford Courant reports (Buck, Hartford Courant, 4/14).
In response to a question concerning potential policies on providing access to antiretroviral drugs in developing countries, Clinton said, "I believe that our government must do so much more to get generic drugs and low-cost drugs to people suffering. Not only from HIV/AIDS, but the range of diseases that affect disproportionately the poor." Clinton added that "our great pharmaceutical companies ... do a lot of good. Because, after all, they invent the compounds and put them together that the generics then are able to copy. But we need to do much more to get our pharmaceutical companies to work with us to get the drug costs down and to open the pathway for generic drugs." Clinton also said, "I commend President Bush" for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. "It was a very bold and important commitment, but it didn't go far enough in opening up the door to generics and getting the costs down" (Forum transcript, 4/13).
Obama, when asked if faith and abstinence education should have a role in the fight against HIV/AIDS, said, "Part of the battle against AIDS should be abstinence" (Hartford Courant, 4/14). Obama added, "I also think that contraception is important; I also think that treatment is important; I also think that we have to do more to make antiviral drugs available to people who are in extreme poverty." Obama also discussed his efforts to encourage HIV testing in Kenya, lauded President Bush for PEPFAR and said prevention efforts focusing on women are important (Forum transcript, 4/13).
The CNN forum was televised nationwide and was moderated by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and Campbell Brown of CNN, the New York Times reports (Stanley, New York Times, 4/14). The candidates answered questions from journalists and audience members, including several faith leaders (Murray/Bacon, Washington Post, 4/14). Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, declined an invitation to participate in the forum, citing a scheduling conflict, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/14).
CNN video excerpts and expanded coverage of the forum are available online (CNN.com, 4/14).
CNN on Sunday also included a discussion about the forum with senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, CNN contributor Roland Martin and Michael Gerson, an author and former speechwriter for Bush (King, CNN, 4/13). Video and a transcript of the segment are available online.