Newspapers Respond to PEPFAR Reauthorization Bills
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and London's Guardian recently published an editorial and an opinion piece about bills (S 2731, HR 5501) that would reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Summaries appear below.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: PEPFAR requires an "early, decisive extension by Congress" because that would "send a strong signal to world leaders to join more decisively in their own efforts," a Post-Intelligencer editorial says. It adds that although the House passed its version of the reauthorization bill earlier this month, the Senate version has "encountered an unfortunate delay threat from" Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). With the Group of Eight industrialized nations summit "in Japan planned for July, it's important for the Senate to move quickly to avoid any kind of protracted delay from" Coburn for "exploiting Senate rules," the editorial says (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 4/27).
Nina O'Farrell, Guardian: Although PEPFAR has achieved some "laudable" gains, the "effectiveness" of the program's funding is "undermined by clauses that are based on American conservative moral considerations rather than hard facts about how to prevent" HIV, O'Farrell, HIV/AIDS policy adviser for VSO, writes in an opinion piece in London's Guardian. "Despite consistent evidence that abstinence and faithfulness programs alone are not effective," the PEPFAR reauthorization bills still support such programs, O'Farrell writes, adding that the bills would require reports to Congress if abstinence and fidelity programs compose less than half of country-level spending on programs aimed at preventing sexual transmission of the virus. She concludes that President Bush "might yet be able to legitimately claim that PEPFAR is the 'most successful foreign aid program since the Marshall plan,' but only if" the "illogical restrictions upon it" are removed (O'Farrell, Guardian, 4/16).