Statement from ACT UP Philadelphia on the President's plan for global AIDS:

January 29, 2003: The exact details of the president's plan for Global AIDSare still unclear. Even the President's seemingly ambitious goals for global AIDS are far below what this country is capable of.

We could be shipping AIDS medications to hospitals and clinics next month, not promising to treat two million people in five years. Forty-two million people have HIV. Africa is full of hospitals with almost everything but AIDS medications.

We are disappointed that only a small sum each year will be sent to the UN Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria. Based on the United Nations estimate of our fair share, this country should be donating between $2 billion to $3 billion to the Global Fund this year and every year, not $1 billion over five years. One billion dollars over 5 years comes out to $200 million per year, 10 percent of what is needed. President Bush has turned his back on the Global Fund.

We are also curious about the White House fact sheet statement about collaborating with "private groups and willing governments." AIDS can only be stopped when the United States, the country with the most money, contributes it in adequate amounts to worthy programs regardless of political considerations, ideological goals, or geographical boundaries. Zimbabwe needs help. China needs help. Neither is on the list.

It is unclear where most of this money will be spent, but if it is through USAID or the CDC, we urge people to look closely at their record with AIDS treatment. Neither has been unable to get the ball rolling. If health officials need a road built, the USAID is the go-to organization. Access to AIDS drugs has not been their strong point.

Finally, we applaud President Bushıs comment that AIDS treatment can be purchased at $300 per person per year--this can only be achieved by using generic drugs. We share President Bushıs commitment to generic competition as the best way to provide affordable AIDS drugs to millions of people.

Katie Krauss
ACT UP Philadelphia

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