AIDS Leaders Call on President Obama to Support Effective, Life-saving Programs
WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amid initial indications that the administration's first budget will flat-line funding for global health, the Global AIDS Alliance is calling on President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to keep their campaign commitments to scale up the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and accelerate efforts to ensure every child around the world gets a free basic education.
"President Obama's first budget is a critical opportunity to reposition the United States' place in the world by supporting these life-saving programs," said Paul Zeitz, executive director of Global AIDS Alliance. "Flat-lining these efforts could reverse the fragile progress made over the past ten years to strengthen global collective action on health and development. It would send a signal to the poorest nations that the U.S. may not keep its commitments to them and to other donors thinking of doing the same."
Throughout the campaign, President Obama and Vice President Biden pledged their support for increased efforts in global AIDS and education. In her confirmation testimony, Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the administration's support for a Global Fund for Education and a fair-share contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
"In his inaugural address, President Obama pledged to work alongside poor nations to improve the health and education of their citizens," said Zeitz. "We hope that he will begin to keep this pledge by outlining his plans to fight global diseases and support education in his first State of the Union address on Tuesday. His language must be backed up by significant funding commitments to fight AIDS and support for education in his budget request."
PEPFAR has achieved amazing results since its launch in 2003. More than 2.1 million HIV-positive people are receiving life-saving medicines. In addition to drug treatments, PEPFAR also provides care for more than 10.1 million people affected by HIV/AIDS worldwide, including more than 4 million orphans and vulnerable children.
PEPFAR was reauthorized last year and the second phase expands the program's goals. PEPFAR II promises to put at least three million additional people on treatment for HIV/AIDS, prevent 12 million infections and ensure that 12 million people affected by HIV/AIDS are receiving care and support, including five million orphans and vulnerable children.
Global AIDS Alliance is urging the Obama administration to prove their commitment early. Waiting until the FY2011 budget to increase resources for AIDS and education means that funding cannot be mobilized until 2012, the third year of this presidency. The Obama administration must act decisively to begin restoring America's standing in the world and maintaining our national security interests, particularly through positive outreach to poor countries in Africa and Asia.
"We simply do not accept that President Obama is short-sighted enough to weaken the global AIDS initiative, which experts believe are the most successful international programs since the Marshall Plan," said Zeitz. "We will keep the pressure on administration officials over the next few weeks to ensure that the President's first budget includes appropriate increases for these essential and highly successful programs."
The Global AIDS Alliance is calling on President Obama to consider the following as his team finalizes the budget request for Fiscal Year 2010:
|SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance|
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