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World AIDS Day: Seeking leadership from the Bush Administration
Date:11/27/2007

This World AIDS Day, the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) is celebrating the good news from the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) that the global case count is lower than previous estimates. However, in the United States, this good news is tempered by President Bushs veto of the annual funding bill that provides resources to fight the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemicprograms that have faced stagnant funding throughout the Bush administration despite the continued growth of the epidemic.

An estimated one in four Americans infected with HIV does not know it, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States is growing most rapidly in poor, disenfranchised communities of color. The funding bill President Bush recently vetoed included increases to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in implementing routine testing in health care settings and to help ensure that care is available to those who test positive by increasing support for HIV medical clinics funded under the Ryan White program. Research demonstrates that knowing ones HIV status and keeping ones viral load low with antiretroviral drugs are two factors that lower the risk of spreading the virus.

But President Bushs veto means the modest increases contained in the bill funding these measures are now in jeopardy. As the epidemic continues to grow, funding for programs to serve those most in need must grow as well. Flat funding of critical AIDS programs translates into more new infections and more Americans without access to lifesaving medical care and drug therapies.

The president also is threatening to veto another bill providing budget increases for global HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases programs, including funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The United States has taken a leadership role in efforts to control the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, and a veto would place this role in question.

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Contact: Steve Baragona
sbaragona@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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