In a half-page ad in the print edition of Thursday’s Politico newspaper, 25 prominent leaders in public health called on President Barack Obama to remember the vital importance of global AIDS funding when finalizing his budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2012. The Obama Administration is currently making final decisions on their budget, which will be released early next year.
The list of signers includes major public health leaders such as Donna Shalala, PhD, former secretary of Health and Human Services and now president of the University of Miami, and the Deans of the Schools of Public Health at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and Emory University–Julio Frenk, MD, PhD, MPH, Michael Klag, MD, MPH, and James Curran, MD, MPH, respectively.
“Despite the impressive advances in getting HIV-infected people into care, substantial challenges remain, which require resources,” said Ken Mayer, MD, director of the Brown University AIDS Program, co-chair of the Center for Global Health Policy Scientific Advisory Committee and a signer of the letter to the President. “In the current era, with increasingly simple and well-tolerated medications that also have the ability to decrease infectiousness, sustained commitment by the U.S. government is essential if we are going to slow the spread of HIV.”
The letter asked the president to request a substantial increase in global AIDS and health funding for FY2012, noting that the needs are urgent, the opportunities are great and citing that only $.0024 from every tax dollar currently goes to global health. The scientists said that despite the current economic climate and a soaring budget deficit, now is not the time for the White House to back down on its leadership combating the AIDS crisis.
“This a crucial time in the battle against global AIDS,” Jim Curran, MD, MPH, dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta , said in a press statement. “As leaders in public health, we felt it urgent that we reach out to the President now to ensure the continued investment in these programs that have already saved the lives of millions and have the potential to do so much more.”
To see the ad and a list of the signers, visit www.GlobalAIDSLeadershipNow.com.