Wednesday, September 29, 2004


I was wondering the other day what, if anything, had happened with Bush's proposed plan to combat AIDS in the world. You know, the one Bush introduced in his State of the Union Address; the one that was praised by Bob Geldof who said "You'll think I'm off my trolley when I say this, but the Bush administration is the most radical - in a positive sense - in its approach to Africa since Kennedy," My fear was that this was all merely talk that would not translate into action. Well, not exactly. A recent Washington Post article chronicles the accomplishments to date:
The Bush administration's global AIDS plan has helped put at least 25,000 people on antiretroviral therapy since it began disbursing money in February to organizations and governments in 15 targeted countries.

That estimate is contained in an interim report delivered to two congressional committees last week. It covers only nine countries. An accounting for all 15 countries will be available late this fall.
Sadly, 25,000 is barely a drop in the bucket but I guess it is a start. And there are plans for more:
Over the five years of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the program aims to treat 2 million people with ART, prevent 7 million new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, and provide care for 10 million AIDS orphans and infected people who do not need ART.
There has been criticism of the Bush Administration's AIDS policies to date:
The Bush plan is using expensive, brand name drugs, rather than keeping its promise to use the lowest cost drugs available. The President's promised "expedited" approval process has yet to review a single generic drug for use in the US program.
"It's disappointing that a year and a half after declaring AIDS a global emergency, we are still just 1.25% towards the treatment goal that had been announced," stated Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of Global AIDS Alliance.
"If the Administration had not rejected emergency funding of its initiative last year we would certainly be further along."
The US Congress, in its AIDS authorization bill passed last year, set a goal of 500,000 people on treatment by September 30, 2004. The Administration's performance represents 5% of what Congress had called for at this stage.
I am uninformed and, therefore, agnostic on the issue of brand-name vs. Generic drugs but I agree that progress seems maddenigly slow.

One wonders what right people in other countries have to demand the US do anything for them. And it is the height of temerity to suggest that we should do more or that we should just hand over $15B to these folks without plans and etc...

Of course, with the UN allowing tens of thousands or more blacks to be slaughtered each month in Darfur, complaining that the charity provided by the US to counter a sexually-transmitted disease is too slow makes perfect sense...

After all, stopping Moslems (or at least those who claim the name) from killing people is apparently against the UN Charter...
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