Carroll County Times

Editorial: Blueprint for battle falls short

While considerable progress has been made in the fight against AIDS, last week's announcement by the Obama administration concerning steps to be taken moving forward fell far short of expectations, and the reaction from health care and other groups should make the administration rethink the effort it is dedicating to eradicating HIV and AIDS.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a teleconference last week in which she announced the administration's latest attempt to improve the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. PEPFAR was a global AIDS plan created by President George W. Bush.

According to a news release on the AIDS Healthcare Foundation website, "PEPFAR has been one of the most successful global humanitarian programs in recent memory, providing medical care to millions of people with HIV/AIDS, it has given hope to the 33 million people with HIV/AIDS in the world."

Obama's "PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation," however, did not result in similar praise from the organization.

On the AHF website, Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said, "It appears that this 'Blueprint' for an AIDS-free generation is mostly more talk and spin by the Obama administration, something they have become quite adept at with regard to its handling HIV/AIDS issues both domestically and globally. There are some generic pledges in the plan to scale-up testing and treatment, but the Blueprint does not offer concrete plans of how we will actually get there."

December is World AIDS Awareness Month and Dec. 1 was AIDS Awareness Day. Groups working for the cause had hoped that the Obama administration would do more to help in the worldwide battle to eradicate AIDS, and they have identified specific ways to move toward achieving those goals.

The Obama administration should listen to those on the front lines of the battle against AIDS, and help provide the support needed to continue their successful efforts.