US boosts global HIV/AIDS support

The US House of Representatives just passed a bipartisan measure to spend $50 billion to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa and other affected areas over the next five years. This mandate is very similar to one considered likely to pass the US Senate soon. The funding would not be as heavily restricted as in previous years when a third of the money was required to be spent on abstinence programs.

Opponents of the bill counter that the US has gone too far to take care of the world’s population without adequately funding health care programs at home. California Republican Representative Rohrabacher opposes the funding saying ”

“It is terrible that millions of Africans are suffering AIDS. But we cannot afford such totally irrational generosity. This is benevolence gone wild. We can’t take care of our own veterans when they come home from the war. We can’t take care of our elderly. We have people who can’t take care of their own health needs and are at risk of losing their homes,” Rohrabacher added. “We have big hearts. But we need to use our brains.”

This comment and the full story are available from the Washington Post (among others) and can be found here.

What do you think? How far does our obligation as a wealthy country to help other countries extend? Are HIV/AIDS programs here in the states adequately funded? Should this be a consideration when looking at the global epidemic? Let us know!

3 Responses to “US boosts global HIV/AIDS support”

  1. April 5, 2008 at 12:35 am

    I would like to add something about some forgotten people living outside of the scope of most all philanthropic organization’s purview and beyond many governmental programs. A Guam-based AIDS Service Organization (GUAHAN Project, http://www.guahanproject.org/index.php) with very limited funds provides HIV prevention and care services to impoverished people who live in the U.S. affiliated Pacific region–American Samoa, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam–which suffers enormous health disparities due in part to limited Federal assistance, and in part due to the post-colonial era annual per capita income: for example, it is only $2,900 in the Marshall Islands, and $2,300 in the Federated States of Micronesia. For comparison, the U.S. annual per capita income is $46,000. This organization and the fragile societies of incredibly unique, indigenous people it serves really need support. A small donation to the GUAHAN Project can make a huge difference in stemming the tide of HIV in these small, culturally rich enclaves that could be destroyed by HIV/AIDS.

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