Funding HIV/AIDS Programs

The Washington Times - Letter to the Editor |

Frank Gaffney correctly, perhaps unintentionally, draws attention to the paltry level of official development assistance provided by the U.S. government in the effort to fight global disease and poverty ("Soak the Americans", Commentary, Sept. 26).

Though many industrialized nations, including the United States, agreed to fund international development programs with 0.7 percent of their gross domestic product, the U.S. has not met that pledge, and gives a mere 0.15 percent.

The announcement of the International Drug Purchasing Facility, UNITAID, funded by taxes levied on the airline tickets, undeniably demonstrates the creativity and innovation needed to address the challenges of the global AIDS pandemic.

Brazil, Chile, France and Norway are to be commended for initiating this distinctive public-private partnership, which will ensure the sustainability of treatments for thousands of children living with HIV/AIDS.

Given the enormous cost of these treatments, the billion-dollar business of international travel seems to be a fine place to start. Mr. Gaffney's concern that U.S. participation in UNITAID would lead to " U.N. taxation without representation" is unfounded. Rather, it would give the United States an opportunity to re-engage the global community and demonstrate its commitment to the international development agenda.

Carmen Barroso
Regional Director
International Planned Parenthood Federation/
Western Hemisphere Region
New York

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