Thursday, June 24, 2004

The Bush administration's AIDS policy is a failure

Why you're right:

1. Bush has underfunded his own AIDS initiative. In his 2003 State of the Union address, Bush promised to spend $15 billion over 5 years to combat AIDS. Two years later he has requested just $4.8 billion dollars. Just $350 million has been distributed to countries in need. (2003 State of the Union, USA Today, Health GAP Coalition)

2. Bush is undermining global AIDS organizations. Bush plans to slash funding for the Global Fund, the international coaltion dedicated to reducing the spread of aids, by 65% in 2005. As a result of the dramatic decrease in U.S. funding, the Global Fund will be "functionally bankrupt" in next year. (Health GAP Coalition, Global AIDS Alliance)

3. Bush as failed to provide access to generic AIDS drugs. The United States refuses to purchase generic drugs that have been approved by the United Nations that provide affordable care for people who have HIV/AIDS. Instead the United States has attempted to discredit their safety. (PBS)

4. Bush stresses abstinence over more effective programs. The administration has blocked international efforts to provide teen sex education "because of [Bush's] belief in chastity before marriage." Bush's policies have lead to cuts in funding "for life-saving drives to encourage condom use." A recent study in Minnesota found that an abstinence only education program in school doubled the number of students who said they were likely to have sex during high school. (Guardian, Minnesota AIDS projects)

Why they're wrong:

Supporters of the administration's AIDS policy stress that the president has spent a lot of money on the issue. Certainly, this is better than nothing. But nothing shouldn't be the standard. At the very least, the president should live up to the standard he set for himself. Bush promised that he would devote $15 billion to AIDS over 5 years and he isn't following through. Bush says that the United States is "setting the example for others to follow" in supporting the Global AIDS funds and is slashing funding.(Bush Speech)

A better idea:

Fully fund a comprehensive and cooperative AIDS program that includes sex education and access to affordable anti-viral drugs.