President Obama's Vague Mention of Global HIV/AIDS Fight and Infectious Disease Threats Lack Budget Commitment

Jan 27, 2010, 23:13 ET from Global AIDS Alliance

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In tonight's State of the Union Address President Obama failed to announce any new approach to America's role in the world, instead sticking to vague rhetoric about development, the global HIV/AIDS crisis, and other global health priorities. "President Obama's track record on global development continues to be marked with vague rhetoric and limited action," stated Dr. Paul Zeitz, Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance.

Every minute that goes by is a missed opportunity to save a life and make the world more secure. During just the first hour of the President's State of the Union address, more than 200 people died from HIV/AIDS because they could not get lifesaving treatment.

"The need to fill in the gap between rhetoric and action is urgent.  Human lives and global security hang in the balance.  The U.S. already aggressively employs "Defense" and "Diplomacy" in its approach to national security.  To put our full weight behind a comprehensive and effective approach, it is imperative that President Obama's commitment to "Development" also be fully funded," stated Dr. Zeitz.

The facts are clear. Fully funding foreign development assistance is crucial to national security.  In order to eliminate havens of instability and terrorism, the US government must ramp up effective investment in eradicating poverty, controlling epidemic diseases, and expanded access to education around the world.  

  • The support of vaccine and immunization campaigns strengthens the social fabric of villages, countries and vulnerable regions, increasing their stability and security.
  • Providing access to medicines, family planning, and bolstering health systems helps communities and countries to stabilize – and does so more effectively than nearly any other investment.

While many of the President's policies reflect an important shift towards including development, his rhetoric tonight stuck to a tired old script. While Defense and Diplomacy are vital elements of America's national security strategy, Development is equally as vital and was given short shrift tonight.

"The global AIDS pandemic has not only undermined education, health systems, and economic growth, it has adversely affected policing, military capabilities and political legitimacy, all leading to destabilization.  It's time for this administration to do more than offer platitudes. It's time to match intention with investment by fully deploying a robust investment in 'Development,'" stated Dr. Zeitz.

Founded in 2001, the Global AIDS Alliance is committed to mobilizing the political will and financial resources needed to halt global HIV/AIDS and reduce its devastating effects.  GAA believes that effective AIDS advocacy must address the epidemic's fundamental links to poverty and social injustice, including gender inequality, lack of education, and violence against women and children.

SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance