As the largest coalition of U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations engaged in relief and development overseas, we applaud President Bush for demonstrating his renewed commitment to HIV/AIDS funding in developing countries by announcing his five-year, $30 billion AIDS plan.
We also appreciate his assertion that HIV/AIDS prevention goes hand-in-hand with other development initiatives, such as providing an education to boys and girls around the world.
Pleased as we are that President Bush has renewed his commitment to the global fight against HIV/AIDS, we recognize that $30 billion over five years implies that annual funding would plateau only slightly above the fiscal year 2008 level. We urge the President to use his leadership to achieve a more comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS, other global health issues and poverty alleviation. As development and humanitarian workers, we have extensive experience working with local communities on HIV/AIDS and other development and humanitarian issues. Based on that experience, we believe that for the President’s Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to truly achieve its goal, the HIV/AIDS pandemic must be addressed within a comprehensive approach to improving people’s lives. This includes access to child and maternal healthcare, food, potable water, disaster assistance and employment.
We call on the Bush Administration to also show leadership on strengthening our government’s commitment to improving health systems and helping people improve the quality and safety of their lives. The President is right to emphasize the role of the U.S. as a leader in HIV/AIDS funding, economic development, and the development of alternative energy sources. While slightly increasing and extending current PEPFAR funding levels is laudable, more resources must also be made available to achieve a truly comprehensive approach to fighting HIV/AIDS, as well as achieving effective poverty-focused development.