Over the past few weeks, opinion editorials and letters to the editor calling for U.S. support of global HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis funding are cropping up in newspapers across the nation. The media push is in anticipation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit taking place in New York City next week, and the Global Fund replenishment which will be discussed soon thereafter.
The anti-poverty advocacy organization RESULTS has been tracking these clips as part of a media campaign push to make sure the U.S. fulfills a pledge of $6 billion to the MDGs over the next three years. Most recently, former HIV Medicine Association Board Chair Paul Volberding, MD, placed the following in the San Jose Mercury News in response to an opinion piece from earlier in the week.
Don’t overlook fight against TB
The Mercury News (“Obama must fulfill Global Fund pledge,” Editorial, Sept. 13) correctly calls on the administration to continue the momentum in the fight against AIDS through fully funding the Global Fund despite the economic crisis.
We must not forget the impact that tuberculosis inflicts on people living in resource-limited countries, especially those with HIV. The Global Fund is the largest funder of TB programs, and TB is the No. 1 killer of people with HIV.
Increasing funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, program is equally important to permit expanded access to the lifesaving HIV medications that people need to survive and to reduce their vulnerability to tuberculosis.
The administration should be a champion for both PEPFAR and the Global Fund, reflected in proposals for increased funding for both initiatives. The upcoming United Nations MDG Summit gives President Obama the opportunity to pledge the $6 billion over three years needed to ramp up lifesaving initiatives through the Global Fund.
Dr. Paul A. Volberding Professor, Vice Chairman, UC San Francisco School of Medicine