Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs
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LOGA Alert updated December 8, 2003

Call the White House on
World AIDS Day

December 1, 2003

PLEASE CONTINUE TO CALL AND WRITE THE WHITE HOUSE ON THIS ISSUE.
(updated December 8, 2003)

World AIDS Day, December 1st, 2003, is a time for us to remember the millions of people around the world who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. Some 42 million people worldwide are infected with HIV/AIDS; more than 14 million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

But, treatments do exist and prevention methods do work. It takes commitment, compassion… and it takes money.  Join the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and other ecumenical partners in the Washington Office on Africa in urging President Bush to propose a budget for 2005 that provides funding which meets the needs of the millions of people dying all over the world from AIDS, TB, and Malaria.

Take just one minute to call the White House, 202-456-1111, on Monday, December 1st.

By calling the White House, you will help get funding to programs that will treat those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and prevent more people from becoming infected.

Here's what we'd like you, in your own words, to say:

  • Urge the President to deliver on his promise to the world by proposing a budget for 2005 which will fully fund the United States’ share of the world's need for global AIDS, TB, and Malaria funding without taking the money from other health and development programs.

  • Tell President Bush that you support the United States spending $5.4 billion for global AIDS, TB and Malaria in 2005.

  • Mention that this funding should not come at the expense of other health and development programs.

"We have all over the [African] continent individual projects and programs that are successful, and the frustration lies in our inability to take them to scale." Lack of dollars is "the single most inhibiting factor."

U.N. Special Envoy Stephen Lewis

Together with thousands of Americans across the United States, you will send a message to our President that we want to see action to stop the spread of AIDS. Our appeal to you is undertaken in concert with colleagues in the Washington Office on Africa and Lutheran World Relief Office of Public Policy and from the Advocacy Network for Africa's AIDS and Health Care Working Group, the Global AIDS Roundtable, and the Global Health Council.

Background:

Despite White House objections, House and Senate conferees have agreed upon appropriations totaling $2.4 billion to confront HIV/AIDS for 2004.  Several months ago President Bush signed the US Leadership against HIV/AIDS… Act, which authorized $3 billion in spending in 2004, but the White House only sought around $2 billion, including research funds, for the 2004 budget year. Happily, both House and Senate are prepared to appropriate more than the White House wants for the Global Fund, an effective multilateral effort to fund global HIV/AIDS initiatives, but both approved figures are far lower than that which is needed.

Even these higher figures, however, are inadequate for the crisis, nor do we believe what is being appropriated is the US's fair share. When we call for $5.4 billion for fiscal year 2005, we are advancing need-based figures and the US fair share of the total needed.

How did we arrive at that figure?

The Global Fund confronts AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Thus funding appeals have tended to link the three together. UN AIDS recommends that $10.6 billion will be needed in 2005. TB experts recommend funding of another $2 billion; malaria, another $3 billion. A third of that - which is in range

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of the typical US share in multilateral initiatives and is less than the US GNP percentage of the global economy - is $5.1 billion. The Bush administration has preferred to include AIDS research in his global figures, which would add $300 million to the total. Thus, $5.4 billion for 2005.

One of the key explanations offered by the White House for its low figures is that Africa and much of the Global South lacks the capacity to absorb $3 billion or more. Increasingly, that is being shown to be incorrect.

We need to do our share to confront this massive human tragedy. A call to the White House on World AIDS Day is a valuable step to take.

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