SFAF Sends President Bush HIV/AIDS Policy Recommendations
The San Francisco AIDS Foundation last week sent the Bush administration a set of guidelines for enacting a "comprehensive set of policy recommendations" to "heighten" the United States' response to the AIDS pandemic. The report details "essential steps" in the areas of HIV research, vaccine and microbicide development, prevention and care, racial and ethnic health disparities, Medicaid/Medicare reform, housing and strategies to combat HIV/AIDS across the globe. In addition, the report recommends the implementation of tax credits and other incentives to "speed" the development of HIV vaccines and microbicides and additional funding for the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on "new and improved" HIV treatments. SFAF also advocates that the Congressional Black Caucus Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Initiative and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Act receive greater funding.
The group also urges the Bush administration to expand the Office of the Surgeon General in order to address disparities in minority health. Pat Christen, executive director of SFAF, added that local and community-based programs also deserve attention and funding. "Programs that insure maximum local control, like the Ryan White CARE Act, deserve the full support of the Bush administration. Providing states the utmost flexibility in designing programs is also crucial," Christen said (SFAF release, 1/25). In an accompanying letter to President Bush, SFAF Policy Director Fred Dillon and Federal Affairs Director Ernest Hopkins urged Bush to lend his "forceful and sound leadership in seeking an end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic." Dillon and Hopkins asked Bush to ensure that such "key departments" as HHS and the State Department be staffed with "high-ranking officials who have shown leadership and expertise in working with the HIV community." The two urged Bush to maintain the Office of National AIDS Policy and the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (SFAF letter, 1/25). To view the letter, go to http://www.sfaf.org/policy/recommendations/index.html. To view the report, go to http://www.sfaf.org/policy/recommendations/global.html.