United States Should Include India in Global AIDS Initiative, Report Says
India's HIV/AIDS epidemic is reaching a "critical time," and the United States should include the country in President Bush's global AIDS initiative, according to a report recently released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Times of India reports (Times of India, 3/3). The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which was submitted to Congress last month, details the Bush administration's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative, which seeks to prevent seven million new HIV infections, provide care for 10 million people living with the disease and provide treatment to two million HIV-positive people living in 14 African and Caribbean countries (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/27). There are approximately 4.58 million people living with HIV/AIDS in India, a number second only to South Africa, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. "This is the moment of strategic opportunity for India," CSIS South Asia Director Teresita Schaffer said during the release of the study in New Delhi, India. "If AIDS goes out of control, there will be an impact both on the domestic and international fronts," she said, adding, "The strongest way to signal real engagement is to make India eligible for funding under the President's Emergency Plan" (AFP/Yahoo! News, 3/2). The report recommends that the United States "strengthen professional relationships" between Indian and U.S. experts on HIV/AIDS, work with India on HIV/AIDS prevention, and apply lessons learned from India's HIV/AIDS epidemic to other countries, according to a CSIS release. In addition, the report recommends that U.S. businesses join with Indian businesses to take action against the epidemic (CSIS release, 2/12).
Legislation Would Include India in Plan
Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) on Thursday plans to introduce legislation that would make India eligible to receive assistance through the global AIDS initiative, according to a release. Corzine plans to offer the measure as an amendment to the State Department authorization bill, which the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to consider on Thursday. Corzine, a member of the committee, said that India needs an "immediate increase in resources" to combat HIV/AIDS because "significant gaps remain that require sustained U.S. engagement and assistance." He added that the global AIDS initiative should be "significantly" expanded to include other countries, according to the release (Corzine release, 3/3).
Additional information on HIV/AIDS in India is available online at kaisernetwork.org, including a webcast of the CSIS briefing where the report on India was discussed; a kaisernetwork.org video feature on India; and facts about the epidemic in India with links to other sources of information.