Asia Russell


In Senegal on July 7, 2003, President Bush began his five-country, fiveday tour of sub-Saharan Africa, the region most devastated by the AIDS pandemic. Mr. Bush's public statements during his brief time in Africa characterized the United States as a global leader, willing and able to confront global AIDS. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a bilateral program announced during Mr. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, was held up as evidence of the United States' commitment. PEPFAR will commit approximately $10 billion in new money and $15 billion total over five years to global AIDS treatment and prevention in twelve African and two Caribbean countries. PEPFAR's clinical goals are to avert seven million new HIV infections, start two million people on antiretroviral treatment, and extend care to ten million HIV affected people. The initiative also described a plan to set United States contributions to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund) at $200 million per year starting in 2004. These are welcome steps, but they are countered by other United States actions that undermine vital multilateral AIDS interventions, likely with a negative impact on the viability and success of the President's own program.