More than 100 AIDS care professionals last week sent a letter to President Bush with eight specific recommendations for improving both international and domestic HIV/AIDS policies. The letter, which was drafted by Health Action AIDS, a project run by global health advocacy groups Physicians for Human Rights and Partners in Health, includes the following recommendations:
Significantly increasing U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and providing at least $3.5 billion of the $14 billion the World Health Organization estimates is needed annually to fight HIV/AIDS;
Supporting the rapid scale-up of health infrastructures in developing countries by implementing a "generous program" to help health professionals and organizations that work in AIDS-ravaged nations;
Significantly expanding existing programs that provide HIV prevention and treatment in developing nations;
Expanding prevention programs in the United States and abroad, including school-based and peer AIDS education, outreach for sex workers and men who have sex with men, providing access to condoms, providing testing and treatment for other sexually transmitted diseases, and supporting media campaigns that promote HIV testing and counseling;
Providing more assistance to people and groups that care for AIDS orphans;
Developing an "AIDS Corps" to assist AIDS workers abroad;
Providing expanded debt relief for poor nations; and
Providing more funding and support for judicial and preventative measure to address discrimination and subordination of women, including supporting greater access to reproductive health care services.
Among those to sign the letter are former surgeons general Antonia Novello and Julius Richmond; James Curran, dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; Nils Daulaire, president and chief executive officer of the Global Health Council; Mathilde Krim, founder and chair of the board of the American Foundation for AIDS Research; Richard Marlink, executive director of the Harvard AIDS Institute; and Paul Volberding, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and chair of the board of the International AIDS Society-USA.