President Bush announces increased domestic AIDS funding
Guerriero calls for gay and lesbian community to work together
(WASHINGTON, DC) – In a dramatic day at the White House, President George W. Bush, announced a historic commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS domestically and across the globe.
The President first met with the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS and then addressed HIV/AIDS leaders announcing several new initiatives to combat the AIDS pandemic. Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Patrick Guerriero attended the announcement this morning.
The President's budget contains a request of $16 billion for domestic HIV prevention, care and treatment, a 7 percent increase over 2003. The President also plans a $93 million increase for AIDS research and $100 million to support the AIDS drug assistance program (ADAP).
To encourage more Americans to get tested for the HIV virus the President also announced that the Department of Health and Human Service is waiving regulations so that testing will be more readily available to doctors and public health facilities throughout the country.
HIV/AIDS is not a partisan disease
The President made clear that the war on HIV/AIDS should be bi-partisan. Singling out Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) who also attended the announcement and Bush said, "There is not doubt in my mind that when you've got the Majority Leader and a distinguished senator like Senator Feingold teaming up together, that this will get done. It's just a matter of time."
The President also praised Dr. Joe O'Neill, the openly gay director of National AIDS Policy. "He is about as fine a human being as you'll ever know. He cares deeply ...he's got a lot of influence, let me put it to you this way, because of his convictions," President Bush said.
"This President's commitment to this effort is extraordinary and unprecedented," said Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Patrick Guerriero. "HIV/AIDS is not a partisan disease, I urge our community to embrace the bi-partisan commitment shown by President Bush, Majority Leader Frist and Senator Feingold."
"While other organizations attack President Bush, Log Cabin Republicans have worked with this administration to push these programs forward and will continue to do so. Today's announcement is another reminder that a two-party strategy is the only way to combat HIV/AIDS and promote other concerns of gay and lesbian Americans, " Guerriero concluded.