On Wednesday, President Bush reauthorized the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It will distribute $48 billion in funds to provide treatment and care globally through 2013. Many are praising this reauthorization as an important step in alleviating the pandemic but some have criticized the Bush administration for not focusing efforts on domestic HIV/AIDS.
In the United States, approximately 1.2 million are living with the disease and people of color and women are disproportionately affected. While Latin@s make up 14% of the national population, they accounted for 22% of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses, according to the Washington Post. Specifically, Latinas are adversely affected; the AIDS case rate for Latinas is 5 times higher than the rate for white women, according to Kaiser.
Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued a statement expressing disappointment with the lack of domestic attention. Though her comments were directed toward the high infection rates among African-Americans, these concerns are true for all communities of color. These marginalized populations often lack the resources to prevent contracting the disease or to access care to maintain healthy lives. The Post article points to language difficulties, cultural barriers and fear of deportation among the Latino community as drivers in increasingly disproportionate rates.
Next week, the XVII International AIDS Conference will take place in Mexico City. Leaders and activists will come together to discuss the epidemic and challenges in responding to it. Around the world, 33 million people are currently living with HIV/AIDS and the overwhelming majority of those infected live in the developing world.
For more coverage of the International AIDS Conference, check out:
- www.aids2008.com – launched by the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP) to allow bloggers, journalists and activists to report about various conference events
- Kaiser Network – official webcaster of the conference and will provide live webcasts each day
Contributed by Yodit Beru