As a Senator last year, Obama voted for US$9.6 billion annually in funding for George Bush's Global AIDS Program but as President he wants it cut by almost 50%.
George Bush cares more about AIDS than Barack Obama? Yes, says AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS organization in the US, which currently provides medical care and services to more than 100,000 individuals in 21 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia, who today chided President Barack Obama for retreating on his commitment to global AIDS.
The Obama budget calls for US$51B for President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) over six years whereas Congress wanted US$48B over five years.
In his Fiscal Year 2010 Budget, released earlier today, the President proposes only US$6.6 billion allocated for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for 2010 while just last year as a Senator, Obama voted for US$9.6 billion in annual funding for the landmark global AIDS program created by President George W. Bush.
"It is perplexing that as a Senator, Barack Obama voted for US$3 billion more in annual funding for the global fight against AIDS, than he is now -- as leader of the free world -- proposing in his 2010 budget," said AHF President Michael Weinstein. "Under President Bush, the last Congress, including then-Senator Obama, allocated US$48 billion for PEPFAR over the next five years; roughly US$9.6 billion annually. Obama now proposes US$51 billion in global AIDS funding; however, the money is to be spread over six years, dropping the amount to just US$6.6 billion annually. We have previously expressed our concern and disappointment over President Obama's inaction on HIV/AIDS issues throughout his first hundred days in office. It is disheartening to see President Obama retreat from his Senatorial commitment on global AIDS funding."
PEPFAR was the result of President Bush's groundbreaking 2003 State of the Union pledge to bring two million HIV positive Africans and others into treatment and prevent seven million new HIV infections via a five-year, US$15 billion US-funded program. It currently operates in 15 focus countries and claims to support antiretroviral treatment for 1.4 million people worldwide. In 2008, when Congress reauthorized PEPFAR, it increased the number of focus countries and upped the funding to US$48 billion for the next five years.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the nation's largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 100,000 individuals in 21 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org.