In the United States, President Bush pledged $15 billion to fight the ongoing devastation caused by AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, as Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson prepares to chair the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The Bush Administration’s goal with the new funds is to “prevent seven million new AIDS infections ... treat at least two million people with life-extending drugs ... and provide humane care for millions of people suffering from AIDS, and for children orphaned by AIDS” over the next five years.
As TB remains the leading killer of HIV+ individuals, initiatives that address the interconnections between the diseases of poverty are helpful. Further U.S. support for the Global Fund, which exhausted its resources with its last funding announcements in January, would be particularly welcome as it helps those endemic countries most in need fight today’s battle. In order to secure better tools for tomorrow, increased investments in research and development for new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines continues to be a major public health priority.