KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Global Efforts To Combat HIV And AIDS Confront Changes As Funding Priorities Shift

The New York Times detailed the current funding challenges facing the global effort to combat HIV and AIDS, using the country of Uganda as an example. "Uganda is the first and most obvious example of how the war on global AIDS is falling apart." Although this nation has made significant advances in what "some doctors call a 'golden window' for treatment," clinics are now routinely turning people away. Similar scenarios are beginning to play out in other African nations, too, according to a report by Doctors Without Borders. "The collapse was set off by the global recession's effect on donors, and by a growing sense that more lives would be saved by fighting other, cheaper diseases." For instance, "[u]nder its new Global Health Initiative, the Obama administration has announced plans to shift its focus to mother-and-child health. The AIDS budget was increased by only 2 percent. The British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also said they would focus support on mother-child health" (McNeil, 5/9).

The New York Times, in a separate story: "Congress has authorized [the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] to spend up to $48 billion by 2014, but the Obama administration has other plans. Its position, laid out by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, a White House health adviser and a brother of the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and underpinning the administration's new Global Health Initiative, is that more lives will be saved by focusing on childhood diseases and keeping young mothers alive." Pepfar's current budget is "about $7 billion a year and was last increased by 2 percent, so it has warned its aid recipients to expect no increases for at least two years. Its goal is four million people on drugs by 2014. AIDS activists are furious, insisting the result will be that children are saved only to die later of AIDS. But they appear to have lost that battle" (McNeil, 5/9).

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