Bush's empty promise (HIV/AIDS)
- Article: Bush's empty promise
Date: Monday, September 1st, 2003
Source: www.sfgate.com - San Francisco Chronicle(California, USA)
THE NUMBERS ARE so staggering they're almost incomprehensible:
AIDS/HIV has infected 42 million, killed 25 million and orphaned 14
million children, whose numbers increase by two every 30 seconds. If
left unchecked, there will be 70 million AIDS cases in China and 110
million in India by 2025.
So, why is President Bush reneging on his promise to fund efforts to
curb this dreaded disease?
With seemingly stern resolve, in January, Bush announced a 5-year,
$15 billion AIDS plan, committing $3 billion in 2004 -- $1 billion to
the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Bush, rightly noting that "time is not on our side," pushed his plan
through Congress in May. In June, he prodded a similar commitment
from the G-8 nations in France. In July, he trumpeted his pledge
during a five-day trek through Africa.
While critics said Bush's plan fell short of the pressing need, we
commended him, nonetheless, for increasing U.S. AIDS funding by 300
Then he suddenly changed his mind, opting for about $2 billion for
next year -- a mere $200 million for the Global Fund -- claiming more
money couldn't be effectively spent.
It's a curious claim in light of United Nations reports that $8.2
billion for AIDS could be absorbed in 2004, $3.1 billion in Africa
alone. What's more, now Europe may cut its $1 billion Global Fund
grant, which was offered as match to the United States.
With $1 billion the Global Fund could prevent 1.6 million new cases
of AIDS and 400,000 deaths of those already infected. It could treat
more than a million cases of TB, more than 10 million cases of
malaria and prevent unimaginable suffering.
Mr. President, we implore you to keep this promise.[-End]