U.S. AIDS official likely the target of protesters
AIDS activists are expected to protest the appointment of Randall Tobias as U.S. global AIDS coordinator when Tobias arrives at the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, this week, the Los Angeles Times reports. Activists say there have been too many delays in implementing the five-year, $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and that there are too many political and ideological strings attached to U.S. AIDS funding, including requiring one third to be spent on abstinence-only programs. Tobias was appointed by President Bush to oversee all U.S. spending for the five-year plan. Sharonann Lynch, director of international policy for Health Global Access Project, calls Tobias the "front man for Bush's ideology-driven policies on prevention and on treatment." But not all activists are critical of Tobias's role in the AIDS fight. Erin Chapman, policy director of the AIDS and trade advocacy group DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa), says Tobias "really seems to care about this, and he's getting things done," the Times reports.