Will Secretary Kerry Influence The White House AIDS Budget?

As John Kerry begins his role as Secretary of State, “some very important decisions will be being made, including the budget for the coming year for key development programs. Will Secretary Kerry fix the administration’s AIDS budget problem?” AIDS and human rights activist Matthew Kavanagh writes in the Huffington Post “Politics” blog. He recaps some of Kerry’s accomplishments in AIDS policy and says “there are high hopes that he will pick up the ball where Secretary [Hillary] Clinton left off and help ramp up U.S. global AIDS efforts.” Kavanagh says Kerry’s “first task” is to “make sure the White House does not make false choices on the global AIDS budget.”

“Last year President Obama submitted a budget that asked for nearly half a billion dollars less for the bilateral President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief,” Kavanagh writes, adding, “Some of that cut went into the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] — trading one set of essential, life-saving programs for another — but the overall global AIDS budget still decreased by almost $200 million according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.” Since the 2013 budget has not been finalized, the cuts “have not yet gone into effect,” Kavanagh writes, concluding, “Secretary Kerry’s first few days could save quite a few lives if he can fix the White House’s AIDS budget problem. Here’s hoping” (1/30).