Democratic presidential candidates marked World AIDS Day by discussing their plans to combat AIDS domestically and overseas, with retired Army general Wesley Clark calling for a doubling of spending for the international AIDS initiative. Clark's plan, released Monday, would allocate $30 billion over the next five years to fight AIDS worldwide, double the amount proposed by President Bush in January and approved by Congress in the spring, The New York Times reports.
Clark's four-part strategy, which his campaign has dubbed the "Global AIDS Security Policy," would allocate a large chunk of the increased funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The plan also would offer financial incentives for pharmaceutical companies working on vaccines for HIV and other diseases. Funding for the initiative would come partially from a repeal of the tax cuts enacted by the Bush administration. "We must make sure the scourge doesn't reverse gains in the developing world and turn developing states into terrorist breeding grounds," Clark said in announcing his AIDS plan. "If we don't fight AIDS with medicine and preventive measures, one day we might have to fight AIDS-induced disorder[s] with the force of arms."
The Global AIDS Alliance announced on Monday that all nine Democratic presidential candidates have endorsed the organization's pledge to commit $30 billion to fight AIDS, TB, and malaria by 2008. The pledge also calls for increased debt cancellation for developing countries hit hard by AIDS, increased funding for programs supporting AIDS orphans, programs to empower girls and women in countries with few women's rights, and a trade policy allowing poor countries to make or import generic versions of patented anti-HIV drugs. The pledge--based on a "Stop AIDS Platform" crafted by the Health GAP Coalition, the Student Global AIDS Campaign, and the American Medical Students Association--has been supported by more than 100 groups around the world.