CQ Weekly Reports On Advocates’ Response To Obama Administration’s Domestic, Global HIV/AIDS Efforts

CQ Weekly examines how HIV/AIDS advocates are “[i]Increasingly dissatisfied with [President Barack] Obama’s approach, both at home and abroad.” According to the article, some advocates say that Obama and congressional Democrats “have failed to show the political will and marshal the necessary resources” to fight HIV/AIDS.

CQ examines a bill sponsored by three Senate Republicans to “take $126 million of unspent funds from last year’s economic stimulus legislation and dedicate the money to purchasing medications for low-income Americans with HIV and AIDS” as well as another bill, sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), that calls for 75 percent instead of the current 50 percent of PEPFAR funds to go to funding treatment.

“Neither bill has much of a chance of enactment in the final months of this Congress,” the news service writes, citing  the economy as one reason. Additionally, in 2009, “Obama proposed a broad rethinking of the nation’s role in combating AIDS and other diseases overseas, and congressional Democrats see no reason to pre-empt him.” As a result, HIV/AIDS advocates are “focusing their ire on the administration and the congressional leadership,” CQ writes, noting several recent protests that have targeted the administration, including one during last month’s AIDS 2010 conference, which questioned the U.S.’ commitment to fund global HIV/AIDS programs.

“The discontent extends beyond funding levels,” with HIV/AIDS advocates concerned over “Obama’s decision to continue supporting overseas prevention programs that focus exclusively on abstinence and monogamy in marriage,” the news service writes. “Religious groups remain disappointed at the attention those programs are receiving, while some liberal groups say no money at all should be spent on them – citing a law enacted in 2008 that lifted a requirement that a third of overseas AIDS prevention funding be spent promoting abstinence,” according to the article.

The story includes comments from Brandon Macsata, chief executive officer of the ADAP Advocacy Association, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, and Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (Zeller, 8/9).

In related news, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby and Global Health Council President and CEO Jeffrey Sturchio on Tuesday will participate in a live Web discussion about PEPFAR.  Moderated by Philip Crowley, assistant secretary of state for the bureau of public affairs, the live webcast will begin at 10:00am (EDT) on the State Departments’ “DipNote” blog. Participants can submit questions for the event on the site, according to the blog (8/4).

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