Almost 300 nongovernmental organizations have signed a letter faxed to President Bush on November 26 that calls for his administration to develop a new initiative to address the global AIDS crisis. The letter urges the commitment of financial resources and the development of new policies that will position the United States as a leader in addressing AIDS throughout the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing nations. The letter also calls on Bush to use the occasion of his upcoming trip to Africa to propose this new global initiative.
Among the specific goals of the proposed initiative are: allocating resources to provide HIV antiretroviral drugs to at least 3 million people with AIDS worldwide by 2005; support for exceptions to international patent rules that will allow poor countries to manufacture or import cheap, generic anti-HIV medications; the widespread establishment of programs that use antiretroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child HIV infections; and larger U.S. financial contributions to global AIDS initiatives, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
Among the national groups to have signed the letter are: ActionAid, the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, Christian Children's Fund, Church Women United, Harm Reduction Coalition, Health GAP, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Association of People With AIDS, National Minority AIDS Council, National Organization for Women, National Peace Corps Association, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Student Global AIDS Campaign, and Treatment Action Group. Several ACT UP chapters as well as more than 90 local HIV/AIDS organizations and more than 100 international groups also have signed the letter.