Maryland Democrat-turned-Repug Smears AIDS Victims, Wants them Put on National List of Undesirables

William Donald Schaefer used to be a Democrat - at least until Bush's good friend Bob Ehrlich became governor of Maryland. Since then, Schaefer has stuck to Ehrlich's circle like glue, and become a militant rightwing Repug in his positions.. But now he has gone from Repug to Nazi: Schaefer said that AIDS victims are a danger to society, brought the disease on themselves, and that they are "bad people." He also said that a national list ought to made of AIDS patients - just as the Nazis made a list of its "undesirables." The pro-Schaefer Pentapost, you will note, leaves these comments out. However, the Post does admit that Bush pal Ehrlich refused to condemn Schaefer's rant (he hid behind "no comment."). Is senile Schaefer just repeating what he's been hearing from inside his new circle of political pals?

6500 a Day Die of AIDS in Africa.

Bono writes, "We are the 1st generation that really can do something about the kind of 'stupid' poverty that sees children dying of hunger in a world of plenty or mothers dying for lack of a 20-cent drug that we take for granted. We have the science, we have the resources, what we don't seem to have is the will... Never before has this great country been so scrutinized, and never has the 'idea' of America been under such attack... Whispering extremists attract recruits when hope has broken down. Surely, in nervous, dangerous times, it is smarter for America to make friends now of potential enemies than defend itself against them later." But Bono misses a major point. George won't back any group that encourages condoms or birth control. John Kerry will work to reduce this major crisis.

Richard 'Officer and a Gentleman' Gere Blasts Bush's Idiotic Abstinence Only 'Sex Education' Scheme

Online Ie: "Hollywood heart-throb Richard Gere launched a scathing attack on Bush's attitude to sex education" while "speaking at the 15th International Aids conference in [Bangkok] after visiting India the previous week with his younger brother David to highlight the Aids epidemic." Gere pointed out that Bush's abstinence-only scheme, first tried in TX while he was governor failed miserably."Since Bush's abstinence only policy came into force, Texas' teen pregnancy rate - one of the highest in America - has remained the same, while the amount of STDs amongst Texan youths has risen. "The most important issue is this one, to this planet, to this time and place is AIDS. We may well have hopefully another administration in about four months in the US and along with that some sanity on this subject."Gere added the billions of dollars spent on the Iraq campaign, "probably could have eradicated this illness."

France Accuses Bush of Blackmailing Poverty-Stricken, AIDS-Ridden Nations

USA Today: "France accused the United States on Tuesday of pressuring developing countries to give up their right to make cheap generic HIV drugs in return for free-trade agreements -- with President Jacques Chirac calling the tactic 'tantamount to blackmail.' A U.S. official dismissed the French allegation as 'nonsense,' while delegates to the International AIDS Conference lamented figures showing only about 7% of the 6 million people in poor countries who need antiretroviral treatment are getting it. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said 'We hear a lot about weapons of mass destruction, we hear a lot about terrorism. And we are worried about weapons of mass destruction because of the potential to kill thousands. Here we have an epidemic that is killing millions. What is the response?' "

Kofi Annan Blasts US Failure to Fight AIDS

KBC: "UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has attacked the US for failing to deliver enough funds to tackle Aids worldwide. In an exclusive interview with the BBC, he said the fight against terrorism was overshadowing the HIV/Aids epidemic. Mr Annan who is attending the International Aids Conference in Bangkok, issued a diplomatic rebuke by singling out Washington for being slow to deliver on its promises. He expressed disappointment that some of the $15bn earmarked by Bush to tackle HIV/Aids was not yet going to the global fund - the body set up to raise money for Aids programmes."

Bush's Abstinence Only AIDS Scheme Endangers the Lives of Millions

The AIDS epidemic is intensifying, threatening a future global nightmare of epic proportions. So what is the Idiot Bush's solution? A policy based predominantly on abstinence only! How is abstinence supposed to help women in Africa and other countries whose husbands are infected? These women, once infected, may then transmit the disease to their unfborn children. It is sheer murderous insanity. Members of the international community attending this week's AIDS conference have nothing good to say about Bush's scheme. Says Poul Nielson, the EU's outspoken Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Bush is 'preaching one line only and denying people's rights by trying to push them into abstinence. It will weaken the battle against Aids, and the unfortunate reality is that it will directly endanger the lives of millions of women."

Bush Promised $15 Billion to Fight Aids, But Instead Has Used AIDS Crisis to Help Drug Barons

Donald G. McNeil, Jr. writes: "Three years after the United Nations declared a worldwide offensive against AIDS and 14 months after Bush promised $15 billion for AIDS treatment in poor countries, shortages of money and battles over patents have kept anti-retroviral drugs from reaching more than 90 percent of the poor people who need them." Out of 6 million people in need of treatment, only 300,000 are receiving it, "While Bush promised in his 2003 State of the Union address to spend $15 billion over five years on AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, his budget requests have fallen far short of that goal. For the most recent donation to the Global Fund, he requested only $200 million, although Congress authorized $550 million." Just as reprehensible: "Advocates of cheap drugs say the Bush administration has yielded to pressure from the pharmaceutical lobby to find ways to reject the generics."

American Medical Students Mobilize Against Bush's Worthless AIDS Program

The American Medical Students Assoc. says, "On a global scale, HIV/AIDS has infected 42 million, killed 25 million and orphaned 14 million children and the number of infected increases by 2 every 30 seconds. In the face of this crisis, Bush has decided to respond with broken promises and harmful trade policies. 'The current Administration has underfunded important multilateral initiatives such as the global fund and is pushing trade agreements which will dramatically restrict access to life-saving generic medications for people living with HIV in developing nations. In the U.S., Bush has flat- funded programs such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), resulting in patients on waiting lists - and dying on waiting lists,' states Lauren Oshman, M.D., M.P.H., AMSA National President."

UN Says AIDS Epidemic Now Threatens Western Europe

"The fastest-growing Aids epidemic in the world will soon be knocking on Western Europe's door, United Nations officials warned yesterday," reports the UK Independent. "The spectacular growth of HIV and Aids in Eastern Europe and central Asia could no longer be considered a distant problem says Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS. "Aids is a European problem. Of all the social and political challenges facing an expanded European Union, Aids is one of the greatest, requiring determined and sustained action now. UNAids has for many years warned that HIV is in danger of spinning out of control in countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Moldova and the central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan." Meanwhile, with the Bush administration continuing to urge ineffectual "preventive measures" such as religious counseling and abstention, the US may be next.

Bush AIDS Plan is Pure Smoke and Mirrors

Bush's Global AIDS strategy is based on selective and misleading use of science, evidence and rhetoric...that fails to address the needs of women and girls, who now represent the majority of those infected with HIV worldwide, asserts the Center for Health and Gender Equity. "This plan is all smoke and mirrors when it comes to responding to the spread of HIV among women and girls," says CHANGE exec. dir. Jodi Jacobson. While the plan acknowledges that violence and sexual coercion put women and girls at high risk of infection, it fails to offer any concrete strategies for addressing these concerns. Instead, the plan promotes abstinence to the exclusion of other strategies, re-stigmatizes condom use after a decade of efforts to reduce this stigma, puts the onus of HIV prevention back on "high-risk" groups, and [incredibly] relies on "faith-based" organizations for solutions."

Global AIDS Alliance Says Bush Will Lie About AIDS Progress in His State of the Union

In his upcoming State of the Union address, Bush is expected to claim credit for progress in the fight against AIDS. But, says the Global AIDS Alliance, Bush's progress has consisted of empty promises: "The result of the Bush promise has been a slowly executed and unilateralist program." After a year, still less than 1% of the 2 million people promised AIDS treatment are actually receiving it. While Bush is promising NASA $1 billion toward putting a man on the moon, his failure to keep promises to people right here on Earth could prevent 1.6 million new AIDS infections. And those promised millions for Africa? "The White House issued red herrings about countries' lack of capacity to absorb more funding. Incredibly, the President tried repeatedly in 2003 to stop the Congress from delivering treatment and prevention services faster and to a broader range of countries." In short, Bush's strategy toward AIDS has been his strategy for everything: Lie and never deliver.

Bush Backs off Commitment to Fight Global AIDS

From the Daily Mislead: "The Wall Street Journal today reports, 'President Bush plans to ask Congress for relatively small funding increases to fight AIDS and poverty in the developing world, stepping back from his highly publicized pledge to spend huge sums to help fight them.' The President's decision is just the latest step in a calculated effort to slowly - but surely - abandon his own commitment to fully fund the global fight against AIDS."

The AIDS Vote

Doug Ireland writes, "Will AIDS be an issue in the 2004 presidential election? It will if a new coalition that has just launched AIDSvote.org has anything to say about it... Sponsored by dozens of AIDS service, advocacy and treatment organizations, AIDSvote proposes a model platform on what government must do to combat HIV/AIDS - which organizations and individuals are asked to sign. And AIDSVote has circulated a detailed questionnaire to all presidential candidates eliciting their responses, with responses to be posted in January. The Web site is designed as an organizing tool to bring the AIDS issue back into the electoral arena - and with good reason. AIDS worldwide has already killed at least 22 million people, surpassing the previous record set by the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic (20 million dead). In 2003 alone, 3 million have died; 500,000 of them were children. But the worst news: 20 years after the discovery of HIV, infection rates are sharply rising, not falling."

Bush Lets 14 Million Die To Boost Drug Company Profits

Joanne Mariner writes, "Here are some numbers to consider: 14 million, 35.9 billion, and 1. The first is an estimate of the number of people who will die of AIDS and other treatable diseases over the course of the coming year, most of them in the poor countries of the developing world. The second figure represents the combined 2002 profits, in dollars, of the 10 biggest pharmaceutical companies listed in Fortune magazine's annual review of America's largest businesses. The third figure corresponds to the number of countries that, last week, voted against a U.N. resolution on access to drugs in global epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The resolution emphasized that the failure to deliver life-saving drugs to millions of people who are living with HIV/AIDS constitutes a global health emergency. One hundred sixty seven countries voted in favor of the resolution. The single vote against it was cast by the United States." Impeach Bush Now!

Annan: World Leaders 'Neglecting AIDS'

BBC: "The world is losing the war against Aids, Kofi Annan has warned. In a BBC interview, Mr Annan criticised political leadership in the developed as well as the developing world. He urged people in the developing world to challenge their own governments and insist on their right to support. Forty million people are infected with the HIV virus that may lead to Aids... 'I feel angry, I feel distressed, I feel helpless... to live in a world where we have the means, we have the resources, to be able to help all these patients - what is lacking is the political will.' He said many governments had described Aids as a security problem, yet were not giving it the level of attention devoted to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. 'For people in some of the countries we are talking about, Aids is a real weapon of mass destruction - and what are we doing about that? It does indicate a certain incredible callousness that one would not have expected in the 21st Century.'"

Global HIV Rates at Record High

BBC News: "Figures from UNAids and the World Health Organization put the number of new infections at five million. The report also estimates that three million people died from the disease this year. But it warns that the figures could rise sharply in the years ahead, with Eastern Europe and Central Asia on the verge of epidemics. The report, which is published ahead of World Aids Day on 1 December, estimates 40 million people around the world are infected with HIV/Aids. Of these, 2.5m are children. Around 14,000 people are infected with the disease every day... People living in sub-Saharan Africa continue to be most at risk. About 30% of people living with HIV/Aids are in this part of the world. South Africa, alone, is home to 5.3 million people with HIV - more than any other country in the world. In Botswana, 39% of the population is HIV positive, the report says. Two out of three new HIV infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa. 3/4 AIDS deaths occur in this part of the world."

South Africa to Offer Free AIDS Drugs -- Under a Plan Drafted with the Assistance of the Clinton Foundation

AP writes, "Under pressure to help the millions of people with AIDS in South Africa, the government approved a plan Wednesday to distribute free anti-retroviral medicine within five years to everyone who needs it... Under pressure to act, the government ordered the health ministry to draft a national plan for the distribution of anti-retroviral drugs by the end of September. The plan, drafted with the assistance of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation, was submitted to Cabinet last week. The government aims to treat 50,000 patients within the first year of the program." Now this is healthcare reform, ulike the Medicare bill the GOP is trying to pass!

Resident Bush, Keep Your $15 Billion Promise To Africa

DataData.org writes: "Bush, on behalf of all Americans, made a historic promise to Africa -- that through the Global AIDS initiative and Millennium Challenge Account, America would help Africans lift themselves out of the crises of AIDS and poverty. This fall, the resident and Congress must decide whether to keep that promise -- a promise that would save millions of lives and help a generation of Africans fulfill their potential. Congress needs to hear RIGHT NOW that YOU want to keep the promise. 6500 Africans die of Aids each day. 9500 in Africa get HIV each Day. This is a global crisis and needs to be addressed immediately. Tell Congress to Keep the Promise Act now and call 1-877-HOPE-USA"

Clinton Delivers AIDS Drugs to Poor Nations

NY Times writes: "Former President Bill Clinton announced yesterday that his foundation had brokered an agreement with four generic drug companies to cut the cost of certain AIDS antiretroviral drugs by about a third, and in one case, by about half, for distribution in poor countries. Under the agreement, combinations of three drugs will be provided in African and Caribbean countries where the Clinton Foundation H.I.V./AIDS Initiative is trying to establish countrywide health care, treatment and prevention programs. 'The goal is to provide the drugs to up to two million people by 2008', Mr. Clinton said in making the announcement at a news conference at his offices in Harlem. The companies are Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. of Johannesburg, and three from India, Cipla Lts. of Mumbai, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. of Delhi and Matrix Laboratories of Hyderabad." Clinton is DELIVERING for AIDS victims - where is the $15 billion Bush promised?

New Global AIDS Coordinator is Big Pharma CEO and 'Abstinence Works' Nut

"The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of former Eli Lilly CEO Randall Thomas to head the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator in the State Department. AIDS advocacy groups raised concerns that because of his ties to the pharmaceutical industry he will not promote affordable AIDS drugs in poor countries. In addition, according to Health Global Access Project, Tobias claimed that the reduction of HIV prevalence in Uganda was a result of pushing the ABC (Abstinence, Be Faithful, and Condoms) in priority order. Health GAP reports that independent health experts argue that Uganda's success was not a result of pushing abstinence over condoms. Jodi Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), said that Bush administration...plan to make abstinence-only strategies central to the fight to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS 'will unquestionably lead to a more illness and death,' said Jacobson."

Bono Recounts Face-to-Face 'Row' with Resident over AIDS Funds

"The Irish rock singer Bono confronted Resident Bush in the Oval Office yesterday with what AIDS activists say is a vast gap between funding he promised in the State of the Union address and the actual money headed for Africa. The U2 singer said afterward that he felt 'depressed,' and that he and Bush had 'a good old row' over how much the White House was allocating to fighting the global HIV-AIDS pandemic. Bush had promised $15 billion over five years for vaccines and treatment, but the administration wants to send only $2 billion next year. AIDS activists said the money is needed now. 'We just can't agree on the numbers,' Bono said. 'He is in for the long term, but the spirit of what was in that State of the Union is what we need now -- that we'll get the drugs to them on motorcycles or bicycles, if we need to. That spirit is being lost a little in the bureaucracy.'" You GO, Bono! Next time, do it in public so we can watch Bush's reaction!

Top Dems Say Bush Policy Will Weaken HIV Prevention Programs

USA Today reports: "A new Bush administration policy that imposes a new layer of state or local review on federally funded HIV prevention programs has drawn a stern rebuke from top congressional Democrats. Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Nanci Pelosi, D-Calif., and Steny Hoyer, D-Md., objected to the policy in a Sept. 11 letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. They urged Thompson to reconsider the policy, which they say could paralyze AIDS prevention initiatives and weaken local efforts to slow the spread of the deadly AIDS virus, HIV, which infects at least 40,000 people each year and kills 20,000 others. 'The process that's now in place has worked well for over a decade,' Waxman said. 'My fear is that the new requirement would politicize prevention, so that conservatives who are offended by new HIV prevention messages could ignore the urgency of the message and turn it into something bland and ineffective.'"

Bush Twists Arms to Get Congress to Cut Funds from His Own AIDS Relief Plan

"The Senate is scheduled to vote soon on an appropriations bill that contains $2 billion for the AIDS initiative -- only $500 million more than this year's spending. The House has approved even less. This is the White House's doing. It is twisting arms to get Congress to cut its own program. The House and Senate had authorized $3 billion for next year. This undercutting of trumpeted compassion initiatives is a habit with the resident because of his devotion to tax cuts for the wealthy. Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, is proposing to restore the full $3 billion. The Senate should adopt this amendment, then prevail upon the House. Several top Republicans, including Resident Bush and the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, have recently been to Africa, where they hugged orphans and visited the dying. If they break America's promise on AIDS, they will be cynically using suffering Africans as nothing more than a photo opportunity."

Outrage! Under Pressure from Anti-Choice Right, Bush Cuts Funds to AIDS Program

NY Times reports: "The State Department has discontinued financing for a small but well-regarded AIDS program for African and Asian refugees because it contends that one of the groups involved in the project supports forced abortions and involuntary sterilization in China, officials said this week. The decision to end the financing has raised a furor among AIDS and refugee groups. Relief workers fear that officials are bowing to pressure from anti-abortion factions within the Bush administration and allowing politics to interfere with desperately needed AIDS programs, assertions that the State Department denies. The group, Marie Stopes International, offers abortion counseling and services. State Department officials acknowledge that they have no evidence to suggest that Marie Stopes is involved in forced abortions or involuntary sterilization, and the group itself says it has been trying to end forced abortions in China and to expand voluntary family planning."

Bush's Abstinence Program May Undermine Gains against HIV in Africa

Gains finally being made against AIDS in Africa may be undermined by Bush's insane abstinence-until marriage "prevention" scheme, reports the Baltimore Sun: "In Uganda [for ex.], where the infection rate has dropped the most - from 30 percent to 5 percent - condoms have played an enormous role, according to David Serwadda, director of the country's Institute of Public Health. 'We must not forget that abstinence is not always possible for people at risk, especially [African] women. Many women simply do not have the option to delay initiation of sex or limit their number of sexual partners.' 'It's a real tragedy that Congress wants to rearrange a prevention formula - just as we finally get concrete and widespread information that [this] approach is bringing dramatic success,' said Phil Harveyof the AIDS prevention nonprofit, DKT International. 'We need every tool we can marshal to beat this epidemic.'"

Bush Sees Africa's AIDS Catastrophe as Just One More Opportunity to Enrich Corporate Profiteers

Doug Ireland writes, "To administer the $15-billion plan, Bush cynically named someone who has no experience with AIDS: Randall L. Tobias, the former chairman of the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. Tobias was chosen to ensure that U.S. moneys are given to those who purchase AIDS-fighting meds at top dollar from Big Pharma, instead of giving them to countries so they can themselves buy generic AIDS drugs at the lowest possible prices... Toeing the Big Pharma line is also an objective of Bush's restructuring of a chunk of U.S. foreign aid under his new Millennium Challenge Corp. program, which removes a good deal of money from State Department control ($1.3 billion this year alone) and gives it to a private, 'independent' board - which will dole it out to countries that meet a strict set of pro-globalization criteria that favor the U.S. economically, including renunciation of the making or buying of cheap, generic drugs like those used to fight AIDS."

AIDS Appointee Shows that Business Still Rules the Roost

Jim Lobe writes: "The appointment of a former top executive of a major U.S. pharmaceutical company and major Republican contributor as P-resident George W. Bush's global AIDS coordinator has stunned and outraged AIDS experts and activists. Bush's choice of former Eli Lilly & Co. boss Randall Tobias was announced at the White House on July 1, just a few days before Bush's first trip as resident to Africa... 'This decision is another deeply disturbing sign that the P-resident may not be prepared to fulfill his pledge to take emergency action on AIDS,' noted Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance. 'It raises serious questions of conflict of interest and the priorities of the White House. Both the people of Africa and the people of the United States will lose if the president's AIDS initiative fails to use the lowest-cost, generic medications."

Funds for San Francisco AIDS Program in Peril

The SF Chronicle reports: "The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in an apparent flip-flop, threatened Friday to pull funding from a controversial San Francisco AIDS prevention program that employs sexually explicit street language to promote safer sex workshops. In letters to San Francisco's Stop AIDS Project and to the city Department of Public Health, the CDC said it appeared that the programs about gay sexuality violate a law barring use of federal money to 'encourage or promote sexual activity'... Fred Dillon, policy director for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, said the issue is really one of local control. 'What works in San Francisco is not the same message we'd direct to teenagers in the Midwest,' he said. 'It's disappointing that Republicans are the ones seeking to subvert local control, because local control is one of their key messages.'"

Grassroots Advocacy Campaign for AIDS Drug Assistance Programs Kicks Off

"The Save ADAP Committee of the AIDS Treatment Advocates Coalition (ATAC) is organizing a grassroots campaign urging Congress to support a $162 million increase for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). ADAP provides access to treatment for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS who are either uninsured or lack adequate prescription drug coverage. The program is a lifeline for thousands of people across the country who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford HIV drugs….Severe underfunding of ADAP constitutes a public health crisis in America, not only for people living with HIV/AIDS who rely on the program for life-extending therapies, but for all Americans invested in sound health policy. The ADAP crisis is not acceptable given Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson's recent statement that 'No administration in any nation has ever made fighting HIV/AIDS as high a priority as the United States under this administration'." Click through to help!

AIDS Activists Boo HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson Off the Stage

CNN reports, "Protesters at the AIDS conference here Tuesday booed United States Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson off the stage. Thompson was scheduled to give a speech about the U.S. contribution to the global fight against AIDS at the 14th international AIDS conference. Shortly after he arrived at the podium, at least 100 protesters carrying signs and megaphones rushed the stage and began chanting, 'No more lies.' The placards the protesters carried read, 'Bush and Thompson Wanted: For the murder and neglect of PWAs' -- persons with AIDS. The secretary stood and watched the protest for 15 minutes and then did manage to finish an inaudible 10-minute speech before he left the podium."

This Is the Thanks Bono Gets? Bush's 'Important New' Anti-AIDS Program Is An Insult To The Civilized World

David Corn writes, "By conducting high-visible public appearances with O'Neill and George W. Bush -- Bono [the rock star] shared his hipness with the Bush squares. [Not since a decked-out Elvis Presley posed with President Richard Nixon has there been such a lopsided transfer of cool in Washington. When Bush] announced a supposedly 'important new' anti-AIDS program for Africa, it was not only an insult to the millions being killed overseas by this plague, it was a slap in the face to Bono... So what's the catch? First, Bush was proposing funding that does not even come close to meeting the actual need. Second, he was taking credit for money already approved by Congress. Finally, he was covering up the fact that his administration had pressed Congress to lower spending for this activity." Bush rolls back funding for AIDS prevention, and crows like it's a major step forward!

Bush Joins the Axis of Evil -- To Hamstring the Fight against AIDS

Doug Ireland writes in the Nation, "Dubya loves to crusade against the 'axis of evil' in his war on terrorism--but he formed an unholy alliance with the countries that make up the 'axis' to declare war on the condom as a weapon in the fight against AIDS at the United Nations special session on children. [The US delegation] made common cause with Iran and Iraq--two of the three countries that Bush declares make up the "axis of evil"--in watering down the summit's official concluding declaration... The Thompson-led delegation took the ostrich-like position that abstinence was the only form of sexual education it would support... The US delegation was stuffed with conservative anticondom extremists [and was] the culmination of a two-year campaign by an ultra-right coalition led by religious conservatives. [Bush] has already spent $500 million in abstinence-only sex education at home--more than twice as much as it has donated to Kofi Annan's Global AIDS fund."

Bush Policy On AIDS Insults Africans While Dooming Them To More Suffering

Andrew Natsios, Bush's new chief of the U.S. Agency for International Development, says he won't give AIDS drugs to Africans because he believes them incapable of adhering to a drug regimen. (The real reason is undoubtedly to give the drug cos. an excuse not to help). "Instead, Natsios' solution to the crisis in Africa, where every third person is infected in some areas, is 'abstinence, faithfulness, and the use of condoms.'" Has Natsios ever been to Africa and seen the devastation there? Maybe he should drag himself away from Brady Bunch reruns long enough to read this article by a Colorado woman who traveled to an AIDS-stricken village herself, and poignantly recounts what she saw and felt there.

Brazil's AIDS Chief Accuses Bush Of Protecting US Drug Companies

"Brazil's AIDS chief accused the Bush administration of protecting the interests of drug companies instead of promoting cheaper drugs to fight AIDS in developing countries. Paulo Teixeira said Wednesday his government is 'very surprised' that President Bush has toughened the U.S. position on Brazil's policy of producing cheap generic drugs and providing an anti-AIDS 'cocktail' free to anyone who needs it. The Brazilian program -- hailed by doctors as a model for developing countries -- has cut AIDS deaths by 50 percent to 70 percent, he said. But a report on patent protections, released by the Bush administration Monday, put Brazil and a number of other countries on notice that they could face U.S. trade sanctions unless they remove objectionable trade barriers to U.S. products."

Drug Companies Withdraw Case To Prevent Lower Cost AIDS Drugs From Entering South Africa

"Top pharmaceutical firms on Thursday dropped their court bid to stop South Africa importing cheap copies of their AIDS drugs...The case was brought by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association of South Africa (PMA) and 39 international drug makers...It turned into a key test of the ability of the world's poorest countries to secure affordable and sustainable supplies of medicines in the face of an epidemic which affects more than 25 million people in Africa alone. South Africa, with an estimated 4.7 sufferers, has more people living with HIV or AIDS than any other country in the world...Kevin Watkins, of the British aid group Oxfam told Reuters the pharmaceutical industry had been forced to withdraw to limit the public relations disaster caused by the application to force South Africa to pay first-world prices for drugs." Refuting the drug companies spin, Watkins declared: "It's a comprehensive climb down. The drug industry is throwing the towel into the middle of the ring."

The Ever-Changing Status Of The AIDS Office

Holy hot potato! Like the China crisis, the Bush gang sure are lame at dealing with an issue that might offend their base. There have been conflicting reports that Bush is a) closing the White House AIDS office, b) reducing it to just an answering machine or c) keeping it fully operational. Now it is announced that Bush will be appointing Scott Evertz to head the AIDS office. Evertz is president of the Wisconsin chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization of gay and lesbian party members. During the primaries, Evertz won his stripes with the Bush team by backward scapegoating John McCain (See also "Bush Swings Both Ways" at Salon.com). "Bush had previously, during the Republican primary campaign, declined to meet with the Log Cabin Republicans...But Bush subsequently met with an ad hoc group of gay Republicans, including Evertz, after he locked up the nomination." Can you say hypocrite?

Read My Lips – No AIDS Office Closure

"In early February, the Bush administration was thrown into a…highly embarrassing scramble [over reports]…that the White House intended to abolish executive level offices on AIDS and race relations…[As a result,] the White House was forced to issue a statement intended to reassure the public [that it would be] keeping the offices on AIDS and race relations open...Less than one month after that embarrassing debacle, however, the Washington Post reports the only thing left of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy is a web site directing callers to an empty office with a telephone that no one answers." In February, the Human Rights Campaign’s Winnie Stachelberg declared: "At a time when statistics show AIDS is ravishing the African-American community, the Bush administration needs to show this issue is a priority." Obviously, her advice fell on deaf ears. Keep in mind that when Gore questioned Bush's priorities during a debate, Bush accused him of "judging my heart."

International Youth Leadership Coucil Flunks Bush and 106th Congress

The International Leadership Youth Council Advocates for Youth flunked Bush's performance on international family planning (IFP) and global HIV/AIDS. "In President Bush's first 68 days in office, he has already moved our country back 12 years," laments council member Naina Dhingra. Bush is "living in the past and....trying to force us to live there with him." Clinton, on the other had received a B average from the council for IFP and HIV/AIDS while the 106th Congress received a C- for blocking Clinton's HIV/AIDS initatives at every turn. Let's see, that mean Bush and his "pocket Congress" together average a solid D.

Bu$h Lies About AIDS

Questioned last month about his attention to the global epidemic, Bu$h said, "We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House, make no mistake about it." But two months into the Bush administration, the only thing left of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy is a Web site directing callers to an empty office with a telephone no one answers.