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Fact Sheet: Extending and Improving the Lives of Those Living with HIV/AIDS

June 23, 2004

Today's Presidential Action

President Bush visited Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to discuss the need for providing treatment to Americans living with HIV/AIDS, and to highlight the work of faith-based and community organizations as they seek to treat and care for Americans living with HIV/AIDS.

Today, the President announced:

  • Immediate availability of $20 million in new funding to deliver life-saving drugs to the men and women in the United States living with HIV/AIDS who are waiting today for HIV-related medication;
  • Support for the reauthorization of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act based upon the principles of focusing Federal resources on life-extending care; ensuring flexibility to target resources to address areas of greatest need; and ensuring results;
  • Second distribution of available funding for the focus countries of the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief -- $500 million -- will soon be on its way to organizations working in the field to provide antiretroviral therapy, promote prevention, care for orphans, and build the health system capacity in Africa and the Caribbean; and
  • Vietnam as the 15th focus country in the Emergency Plan.

The President's continued commitment to combating HIV/AIDS domestically is reinforced in his budget for FY 2005 with $17.1 billion in funding for domestic AIDS research, care, prevention, and treatment -- an increase of 27% since 2001. The President has increased funding for Global HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from $840 million in FY 2001 to a request of $2.8 billion in FY 2005 -- which more than triples the investment since 2001.

Background on Today's Presidential Action

Care and Treatment. Too many Americans with HIV/AIDS go without life-saving drugs. For those States that have reported patients waiting today for HIV-related medication through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the President has committed $20 million in new funding effective immediately to deliver lifesaving medications to men and women living with HIV/AIDS. The President supports the Ryan White CARE Act reauthorization and seeks to strengthen the program using the following principles as guidelines:

  • Focus Federal resources on life-extending care, such as anti-retroviral drugs, doctor visits, and lab tests.
  • Provide greater flexibility to better target Ryan White CARE Act resources to address areas of greatest need.
  • Encourage the participation of any provider, including faith-based and community organizations that show results, recognizing the need for State and local planning, and ensuring accountability by measuring progress.

Prevention and Research. HIV/AIDS remains a serious public health threat. The President has supported increases in other programs helping Americans afflicted with HIV/AIDS: substance abuse treatment, which helps to prevent transmission through intravenous drug use, and Community Health Centers, which in low-income or rural areas, may provide the only source of treatment and support to HIV-infected individuals. The President continues to support efforts to promote prevention while encouraging research to combat this deadly disease. Efforts include:

  • Emphasizing Abstinence: Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent sexual transmission of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. In the President's 2004 State of the Union Address, he called for a new emphasis on abstinence-only education, and doubling the funding for abstinence-only programs.
  • Encouraging Testing: Approximately 40,000 Americans become infected with HIV/AIDS each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one-quarter of those infected with HIV do not know that they are infected, and that these individuals cause up to two-thirds of new infections. The FDA has facilitated the effort of rapid HIV tests by approving a quicker and less invasive saliva test for HIV.
  • Global Vaccine Enterprise: Research is key to removing the devastation caused by the disease. At the G-8 Summit in early June 2004, the President announced a global vaccine enterprise to bring a strategic vision to global AIDS vaccine efforts.
  • Easy-to-Use AIDS Medications: The Food and Drug Administration has announced a plan to rapidly approve low-cost easy-to-use AIDS medications. The FDA will make these low-cost drugs available for purchase under the Emergency Plan and through other providers.
  • Lifting Barriers to AIDS Vaccine Development: Today, the President continued to call on Congress to lift barriers to AIDS vaccine development in the United States by providing liability protection to private vaccine developers, and others involved in researching cures to disease.

Confronting the International HIV/AIDS Pandemic

The President's FY 2005 budget requests $2.8 billion for fighting AIDS globally, which more than triples the investment since 2001. In his 2003 State of the Union Address, President Bush announced the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a five-year, $15 billion initiative to turn the tide in the global effort to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has killed at least 20 million of the more than 60 million people it has infected thus far, leaving 14 million orphans worldwide. Today, on the continent of Africa, nearly 30 million people have the AIDS virus -- including three million children under the age of 15. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is helping some of the most affected countries in Africa and the Caribbean to extend and save lives afflicted by HIV/AIDS. The initiative will be used to provide antiretroviral drugs for 2 million HIV-infected people; prevent 7 million new infections, care for 10 million individuals and orphans infected and affected by the disease, and build the health system capacity in Africa and the Caribbean.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

  • The First Year: During this first year, the Emergency Plan is providing care and support for approximately 1.1 million people and facilitating access to antiretroviral therapy for approximately 200,000. The Emergency Plan is using proven prevention methods with records of success, including the ABC model, bringing life-saving treatment where none previously existed which encourages testing, ensuring accountability by service providers, developing healthcare systems through the network model and fighting stigma.
  • Funding for People Most in Need: On February 23, 2004, the first $350 million in funding for the focus countries of the Emergency Plan was made available and began reaching people in need only two weeks later. The second distribution of funding -- $500 million -- will continue to build on prevention, treatment, and care efforts. In total, the Emergency Plan is spending $2.4 billion on global AIDS this year.
  • 15th Country Added: Today, Vietnam has been added as the 15th focus country of the Emergency Plan. Vietnam is predicted to have an increase in HIV-infected persons from 130,000 in 2002 to one million by 2010, an eight-fold increase. Although still considered a localized epidemic, emerging trends indicate that HIV infection is spreading to the general population. Emergency Plan interventions through non-governmental organizations could prevent at least 660,000 new infections, and provide care for 65,000 people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, including treatment for 13,000 HIV-infected people.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Extending and Improving the Lives of Those Living with HIV/AIDS Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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