AIDS Day 2008

The Presidential Universe of Me

Another year passed and today's World AIDS Day finds us with many of the same struggles as last year. However there's also been progress.

For instance this year brought funding for Bush's PEPFAR program for drugs and prevention. Bush had said at the ceremony for H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008:

"...I wish every single America '[sic]' could have seen the tens of thousands of people who lined the streets during our visit, and they were cheering and waving American flags in gratitude to the generosity of the American people..."

We all wish we could have seen it. Instead Bush will have to settle for some crowd appreciation today from President-elect Obama, who congratulated Bush for his efforts on PEPFAR. In response, first Lady Laura Bush said: "That's sweet, so sweet." Bush had been having a blue day, saying in various interviews that he was "unprepared" for war, (but noting there was no war on during his campaign.), that he was "sorry it's [the economic meltdown] happening", and that "some people voted for Barack Obama because of me." Some in the media called this an apology.

On the AIDS front, Bush established PEPFAR, but also ignored family planning which is effective at preventing the virus from spreading. The Obama administration, ever diplomatic, intends to loosen the Bush administrations restrictions on funding, which dictated abstinence only teachings for grantees.

From Failures, New Directions

In other AIDS news this year, the major vaccine initiative came up negative in clinical trials, motivating HIV/ADS programs re-focused their goals.

And in very optimistic developments, the South African interim government chose Barbara Hogan to work as Minister of Health until the new government takes office. See: "New Minister of Health For South Africa. Change Afoot?" Hogan recognizes both the crisis of AIDS as well as underlying issues such as public health infrastructure. Today, Hogan led a minute of silence in South Africa.

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