States has done a poor job responding to the global
HIV/AIDS pandemic, says national gay rights group Human
Rights Campaign in its second annual World AIDS Day
report card released Thursday. The report card rates
the government's response to the crisis in four key
areas: prevention, care and treatment, research, and global AIDS.
"These grades are not simply letters in the
alphabet; they are emblems of our government's failure
to respond to one of the most devastating national and
global health crises in history," said Joe Solmonese,
HRC president. "Every hour, two young Americans become
infected with HIV, and the government's irresponsible
response is to cut funding and abandon science. The
Bush administration and congressional leadership's
response to this disease has been abysmal."
The results are as follows:
As AIDS ravages minority communities, government
programs are failing to adequately respond to the
epidemic among vulnerable populations. The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately
46% of African-American men who have sex with men in five
major U.S. cities are HIV-positive and that almost two
thirds of those infected do not know their status.
Infections among gay and bisexual men rose 8%; the
group still makes up the largest percentage of new HIV cases.
--Care and Treatment: F
This year has seen significant cuts to federal
HIV/AIDS treatment and care programs. After
consistently flat-funding most of the Ryan White Act
for five years and passing billions of dollars in cuts to
Medicaid, a CDC study determined that 211,000
Americans are not receiving the antiretroviral
treatments they need.
The most recent version of the
Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill contained an
increase of less than 1% to the National Institutes of
Health, the smallest percentage increase since 1970.
--Global AIDS: C
The highest mark on the report card goes to
Global AIDS as Congress passed and the president
signed the Assistance for Orphans and Vulnerable
Children in Developing Countries Act this year. However,
this year the United States will not fully meet
its funding commitment to the Global Fund, and the
U.S. government has mandated that at least one third
of contributions to international programs must be devoted
to abstinence-only programs, which many experts
believe are seriously flawed and leave little control
to local experts. (Advocate.com)