President Bush on Wednesday named his acting AIDS adviser, Carol J. Thompson, as permanent head of the Office of National AIDS Policy. Bush's first two AIDS advisers, Scott Evertz and Joseph O'Neill, were both openly gay doctors. Thompson is neither gay nor a physician. She has held the post on an interim basis since August. Before that, she was a White House domestic policy adviser and worked at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. She replaced O'Neill, whom Bush had named deputy coordinator of a new office that coordinates response to the global AIDS pandemic.
Colleagues said Thompson is passionate about the AIDS issue and helped enact and implement Bush's five-year, $15 billion plan aimed at stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS worldwide. "Carol is a great choice for AIDS director," said Jay Lefkowitz, who has worked with Thompson on the issue. Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights advocacy group, called Thompson's appointment "meaningless" because the Administration continues to vastly underfund domestic AIDS efforts. "The White House has made this position so irrelevant, we're not overly concerned about Carol Thompson," said HRC president Cheryl Jacques. "A whole generation doesn't know anything about this disease and is being told nothing by their government about prevention. They need the unvarnished truth." (AP)