Global AIDS Plan Gets New Addition

A lobbyist discusses the reauthorization process of PEPFAR, the largest commitment by a nation to combat a single disease, and how the new bill has expanded its focus and increased funds by up to $33 billion.



Were there any organizations or groups that proved to be barriers to the inclusion of MSM in the legislation?

During the reauthorization process there were really big debates on family planning. There were big debates on the prostitution pledge. There were big debates on treatment and whether if treatment should have a specific allocation, but in terms of MSM there was really no big debate around MSM and perhaps maybe because other issues had more media attention.

You said the bill isn't perfect, what else would you have liked to see included in this bill?

There is still an emphasis on abstinence prevention methods. The prostitution pledge remains in the law which is programmatic. There needs to be better linkage between family planning programs and HIV services. It is a good opportunity because the one reliable time that women will certainly go into health services is during pregnancy.

Despite its shortcomings, what do you hope will result with this legislation?

I hope that the people who are desperately in need of services are able to get the information and services that they need. There have been various sessions [at the AIDS Conference] and various advocates and people from on the ground who are speaking on the ground who are speaking about the dual epidemic of not just HIV but the stigma discrimination homophobia. This is a high risk community that has had limited access to services and this really has the potential to make a life changing and life saving impact in the lives of so many.



Tags: HIV & AIDS