News / Africa

Funding AIDS Fight with Shrinking Budgets

25-year-old South African, Lawrence Jet who is HIV-positive lies on his bed (file photo)
25-year-old South African, Lawrence Jet who is HIV-positive lies on his bed (file photo)
Joe DeCapua

(Note: This story contains corrections of an earlier version)

 

Recent advances in AIDS prevention and vaccine research have coincided with a plunge in world economies. It’s resulted in a rethinking of how to fund AIDS-related programs and reduced spending in many cases. The Obama administration and Congress are currently reviewing health funding.

Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called on President Obama to “lead the world in a massive effort to expand access to treatment and rid humanity of AIDS.”

But with the Obama administration and Republican members of Congress sharply disagreeing on budget issues, is that possible?

“Yes, definitely it is possible, “said Dr. Paul Zeitz, senior policy advisor at Keep a Child Alive, a foundation begun by entertainer Alicia Keys.

Multiple benefits

The former head of the Global AIDS Alliance says six million would be about two million more than currently receive treatment. Studies have shown that antiretroviral drugs do much more than lower the amount of HIV in a person’s body.

“We have new data,” he said, “new scientific data generated by U.S. taxpayers through NIH, that show that treatment is prevention as well. So that if you’re on life-saving AIDS medicine you actually drop your viral load to zero and you stop spreading the virus.”

Zeitz said getting more people on treatment saves both lives and money in the long run. PEPFAR officials say the program has become much more efficient in recent years, reducing the cost of the transportation of drugs and treatment itself.

How much to spend?

Recently, a Senate panel proposed reducing spending for both PEPFAR and the Global Health Initiative.

“President Obama, when he ran for election, talked about putting a scalpel to the budget – meaning protect the things that work and cut out the fat. Don’t do a blunt instrument. Don’t cut everything. Cut the things that aren’t working and protect the things that are working,” he said.

While some in Congress want to cut health spending, Zeitz says there are Democrats and Republicans who agree on HIV/AIDS.

“Congress launched the first ever bipartisan Congressional HIV/AIDS caucus. And both Democrats and Republicans publically stated how this is an issue that we can all come together on,” said Zeitz.

During the Clinton administration, HIV/AIDS was declared a threat to national security.

Zeitz said there continues to be a misperception that the U.S. allocates 10, 15 or 20 percent of the budget to foreign aid. The real figure, he says, is less than one percent. And the amount spent on HIV/AIDS and health is a fraction of that.

“We’re spending like $6 billion a year on programs to save millions of lives. It’s a small, small drop in the big bucket of the budget, probably equal to a part of a wing of one aircraft that the military’s producing, an F-22. It’s about half of a wing. So, we’re saying for half of a wing of one airplane we can save two million more lives,” he said.

Adovates are calling on the Obama administration to announce plans for HIV/AIDS funding as World AIDS Day approaches on December 1st. Archbishop Tutu calls it “a profound opportunity.”

You May Like

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid