Editorials, Opinion Pieces Respond to Global AIDS Efforts, PEPFAR Reauthorization Legislation
Dallas Morning News: Although HIV/AIDS might not become generalized in the heterosexual population in some parts of the world, the risk remains high in sub-Saharan Africa because of cultural practices and "widespread" sexually transmitted infections, a Morning News editorial says. "Does this mean the rest of the world can turn away from treating AIDS sufferers and fighting the disease among at-risk populations?" the editorial asks, adding, "Absolutely not." According to the editorial, "What this new awareness does mean is that the public and private money committed to the AIDS fight can and should be rerouted where it is most needed." The "AIDS crisis is by no means over," the editorial notes, concluding, "But our understanding of it has progressed a great deal. So should our funding and AIDS-fighting policies. Science, not politics, should guide the world's response" (Dallas Morning News, 6/16).
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: The "world is starting to make real progress on improving treatment for HIV/AIDS" in developing countries and now must "target HIV's partner in epidemic crime: tuberculosis," a Post-Intelligencer editorial says. As discussions during the HIV/TB Global Leaders Forum in New York "underlined, TB causes about one-third of deaths" among HIV-positive people in some areas, the Post-Intelligencer says. It adds that as such, the Senate "should promptly pass an expansion of PEPFAR, including a strong, new anti-TB commitment." Congress also "can help President Bush in that effort by passing PEPFAR" before the Group of Eight industrialized nations meeting next month, the editorial says (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/16).
- Fran Quigley, Indianapolis Star: PEPFAR has "made a historic and lifesaving difference" in sub-Saharan Africa and "represents the greatest accomplishment" of Bush's presidency, Quigley, director of operations for Indiana-Kenya Partnership, writes in a Star opinion piece. In addition, the Millennium Challenge Account has "rehabilitat[ed] the image of foreign aid," according to Quigley. Although there are "still kinks to be worked out in the Millennium Challenge Account," it is "the kind of smart and strategic foreign aid that can earn back the U.S. public's confidence in our ability to make a meaningful and compassionate response to the world poverty crisis," Quigley writes. It is a "shameful fact" that aid to Africa "amounts to less than 1% of our military spending," Quigley adds, concluding that despite this fact, aid pledged to the continent under Bush is "more and better help than any previous president has ever provided, and Bush deserves appreciation for that" (Quigley, Indianapolis Star, 6/16).
- Thomas Wenski, Orlando Sentinel: Although it seems "relatively easy" for Congress to reauthorize PEPFAR, "for many reasons it hasn't been," Wenski, chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, writes in a Sentinel opinion piece. The House "overcame challenges coming from both the left and the right to pass a reauthorization bill with broad bipartisan support," Wenski writes, adding that the "Senate needs to do the same." For "both moral and practical reasons, the Senate must resolve these issues now and move the bill forward with bipartisan agreement," according to Wenski. He adds that PEPFAR "has a proven track record of success," and "[d]elay is not an option." Wenski concludes, "The lives of millions who struggle with these terrible diseases are at risk. It is essential for the Senate to act now to renew and expand this lifesaving initiative" (Wenski, Orlando Sentinel, 6/16).