White House Steps up Global Fight Against AIDS
President Bush Announces U.S. Will Enhance its Leading Role in International AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Care
(WASHINGTON, DC) – At a White House event today, President George W. Bush announced that the United States will enhance its leading role in worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS by supporting a new public-private global fund to build a prevention, care and treatment infrastructure in the developing world.
"After years of watching this crisis escalate, we applaud President Bush for providing long overdue leadership, particularly in fighting the holocaust sweeping across Africa," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "The U.S. commitment to fighting global AIDS, in terms of funding and top-level coordination among departments and agencies, is greater now than at any other time in history."
"President Bush has taken these steps of moral leadership," Tafel said. "We hope the rest of the industrialized world will match the U.S. commitment."
The President announced that the U.S. would contribute $200 million in seed money to the fund this year, and would lead efforts to seek support from the G-8 group of industrialized nations, private foundations and corporations, faith-based groups and other non-governmental organizations. By addressing the health care delivery crisis in the developing world, the fund will also benefit efforts against tuberculosis and malaria and other infectious diseases.
The new U.S. initiative enhances the leading role the U.S. continues to play in the global AIDS fight as the largest bilateral donor of HIV/AIDS assistance, providing for nearly 50% of all international HIV/AIDS funding.
The President was joined at the announcement by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, President Obasanjo of Nigeria, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, White House AIDS Policy Director Scott Evertz, and Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.
In April, the Bush Administration expanded the mandate of the Office of National AIDS Policy from the previous administration to include global AIDS policy, and to provide support to a new high-level Presidential task force on HIV/AIDS co-chaired by Powell and Thompson, and including Rice and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Margaret LaMontaigne, to coordinate the Administration's proactive activities and responses to all aspects of the domestic and international HIV/AIDS crisis.
In addition to the $200 million seed money commitment to the global fund, the President's Fiscal Year 2002 budget allocates $480 million to fight the international HIV/AIDS epidemic, an 8% increase from Fiscal Year 2001 and a 113% increase from Fiscal Year 2000.
The Senate passed a measure last month, sponsored by Senator Frist, which budgeted $200 million this year and an additional $500 million next year to the global AIDS effort.
"Even more important than the funding commitment, we applaud the President's guiding principles in his international AIDS policy," Tafel said. "It shows the Bush Administration has a deep understanding of the whole picture, and sends a clear signal that the U.S. will prioritize effectiveness, accountability, multi-lateral responsibility and increased innovation in developing new treatments, vaccines and an eventual cure."
The Bush Administration today reiterated its commitment to ensuring that the new global AIDS fund remains a public-private partnership; pursues an integrated approach, emphasizing prevention in a continuum of treatment and care; focuses on "best practices" by funding a core menu of programs proven to work, then scaling up; promotes scientific and medical accountability by requiring proposals to be reviewed for effectiveness by medical and public health experts; and respects intellectual property rights as an important incentive for the development of new drugs.
Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay Republican organization, with state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time lobbying staff and a federal political action committee. Log Cabin Republicans is based in Washington, D.C., with a field operations office in Dallas, TX.