Web Zap*Germs Archive

September 20, 2004

CDC's Gerberding Promotes U.S. $15 Billion-Plus HIV/AIDS Program; Still Not Enough, Says U.N.

Julie Gerberding, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the WHO conference discussing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other global disease threats [see related post]. Gerberding suggested Ethiopia's leaders be publicly tested for AIDS, to help overcome the stigma associated with the disease. Gerberding was speaking in support of the United States' Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief initiative to combat HIV/AIDS worldwide.

That amazingly generous initiative, promoted by President Bush and passed by Congress in 2003, will invest US$15 billion over five years to care for 10 million AIDS-infected people (including orphans), treat two million AIDS-infected people, and help prevent seven million new AIDS infections. Bush's initiative adds to the U.S.'s ongoing commitment to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Unfortunately, $15 billion devoted to the world's -- not the U.S.'s -- HIV/AIDS dilemma still isn't enough, according to the UN's Kofi Annan, who wants the U.S. to change the spending priorities for its $15 billion (Vietnam and a number of other nations) in favor of his (over 100 nations).

Radio Singapore's Bharati Jagdish (BJ) discussed Annan's no-amount-is-enough expectations with the UN's Michael Iskowitz (MI) during the AIDS summit in Bangkok, Thailand last July:

"MI: I think the United States will continue to be the largest contributor to the Global Fund and it would not surprise me at all if the amount that they're contributing to the Fund increases. Whether or not that will be a billion dollars in a single year, I'm not sure. But it is likely that next year, the US will contribute at least what it contributed this year which is 550 million. The United States has a provision in its law that was passed by Congress. This law says that no more than one-third of the money in the Global Fund can come from the US. The Congress said that the US should do its fair share, but everybody else should do their fair share as well. The US has always been at one-third of the Fund."

"BJ: So why then is Kofi Annan expecting the US to do more than its fair share now?

"MI: I think what the secretary-general said is that everybody needs to do more. He also wanted there to be a billion dollars from the European Union and to the extent that other donors continue to put more money in the Fund, it will allow the US to put more money in the Fund as well, because they will feel they still have to fulfill they're [sic] one-third ceiling. So if there's more money in the Fund from other donors, the US can also give more money because one-third of that larger amount will naturally be larger too."


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