July 17, 2010

July 17, 2010
Bush vs Obama on HIV/AIDS

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope you are having a safe and great weekend so far. It is another busy one for Dab the AIDS bear and I.

AHF to Criticize WH Strategy in Face of Administration’s Ongoing Indifference to Domestic & Global AIDS Epidemic Over 2,200 Americans are on waiting lists, denied lifesaving AIDS drugs from hard hit ADAPs as White House spends 15 months crafting AIDS strategy; Obama offers too little to address AIDS drug crisis and also fails to implement landmark and prudent 2006 CDC guidelines for routine HIV testing.

The strategy, 15 months in the making, was crafted as the nation’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) the federal and state funded, state run network of programs that supply lifesaving AIDS drugs to low income Americans in need, collapsed.

Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy was formally released at a White House press conference at 2pm Tuesday, followed by a separate White House reception for 250 or so of the nation’s AIDS leaders at 6pm. Many AIDS organizations and advocates including AHF have been disappointed by the laggard approach Obama and Administration officials have toward AIDS.

AHF will hosted its press conference to respond to Obama’s AIDS strategy at 3:30pm at the National Press Club (Murrow Room) nearby.

“The ‘New York Times’ obtained a copy of the President’s AIDS strategy, and from what we’ve learned of it so far, there is really no ‘there’ there,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “This strategy is a day late and a dollar short: 15 months in the making, and the White House learned what people in the field have known for years. There is no funding, no ‘how to,’ no real leadership.”

According to a White House press statement, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy “…is a comprehensive plan focused on: 1) reducing the number of people who become infected with HIV, 2) increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV, and 3) reducing HIV related health disparities.”

As of July 9th, there were 2,291 people on waiting lists in 12 states including 605 in Florida which has the third highest incidence of AIDS in the nation and which only started its wait list June 1st.

Regarding the 2,200 Americans on waiting lists to receive lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications through the nation’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP): In an effort to address the crisis, Senators Burr, Coburn and Enzi introduced S. 3401, the ACCESS ADAP Act, a bill which provides $126 million in unobligated stimulus funds to eliminate waiting lists through Fiscal Year 2010. The bill failed to gain the support of the Administration or Congress. The $126 million was a number provided by state AIDS directors as the amount of additional federal funding required to meet current program needs given the number of people on waiting lists, expected number of new patients and budget cuts per state.

“Under President Obama, the CDC’s landmark and prudent 2006 guidelines recommending routine testing for HIV for all those ages 13-64 have also not been implemented nor even really prioritized,” added Weinstein. “All around, this is a real disappointment.”

AHF to Roll Out “Who’s Better on AIDS?” Obama/Bush Comparison Ad Campaign in DC

As part of ongoing advocacy efforts to spur President Obama and the Administration to do more on AIDS, AHF is rolling out an ad headlined “Who’s Better on AIDS?” The ad which will appear in the print and online versions of ‘Politico’ as well as at 16 bus shelter advertisements in Washington near the White House features a split screen head shot of Presidents Obama and George W. Bush merged into one half of Obama’s face on the left of the ad, and half of Bush’s on the right.

President Bush created PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), the successful US global AIDS program, which has also been neglected and underfunded on Obama’s watch. To read more about the AIDS drug crisis, click here.

So it will be interesting to see what the response to the campaign AHF is launching will elicit from the White House. What do you think? Drop me a line and let me know.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab