Take care of your own house before you go next door...

In President Bush final State of the Union, he asked Congress to provide more funding for The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or better known as PEPFAR.

From NPR
The AIDS relief plan has provided medicine for more than 1.4 million people in 15 African countries, the Caribbean and Vietnam, countries that have been hardest hit by the epidemic. Steve Morrison, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, praised the president's new proposal as a highlight of the Bush legacy.

"It is calling for the enlargement to 2.5 million people that will be on life-sustaining therapy for HIV/AIDS," Morrison said.

In other words, nearly twice as many people with AIDS in developing countries would be covered as before. What's more, Morrison says, the president's AIDS plan has helped preserve America's good standing in the world and restore a reputation that has been tarnished by Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and other events related to the war in Iraq.

First, I must have missed that memo from the rest of the world that America's rep has been restored. Secondly, PEPFAR is a all around joke simply because of the ABC (Abstinence, Be Faithful, Use Condoms) policy.

Nonetheless, while I support doing anything to help stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world, shouldn't that theory extend to the HIV/AIDS crisis in America?

While Bush and company felt all gushy about saving Africa at Capital Hill, right outside DC residents are going through their own nightmare with the disease.

From the New York Times:
The District of Columbia has the highest rate of AIDS infection of any city in the country and the disease is being transmitted to infants, older adults, women and heterosexual men at an epidemic pace, according to a report released Monday by city health officials.

The report said more than 12,400 people in the city — about 1 in 50 — are living with AIDS or H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.

“H.I.V./AIDS in the district has become a modern epidemic with complexities and challenges that continue to threaten the lives and well-being of far too many residents,” said the report, which includes the first-ever study of statistics on H.I.V. in the city, along with updated data on AIDS cases. The H.I.V. data offers a vital snapshot of the most recent infections so health officials can study any changes in transmission patterns, the officials said.

The city’s AIDS prevention office has been faulted in the past as not keeping proper data to track and fight the disease, and the director of the office is the 13th in just over two decades, a turnover rate that has hampered its focus, advocates for AIDS patients said.

One in fifty DC resident are living with HIV/AIDS - that is the same prevalence rate you would find many major African cities. This high rate might come as a suprise to many Americans - and even some Africans I know. In America it is believed that AIDS is a conquered disease. So it is easy to treat HIV/AIDS like its an "over there" problem because you know America is invincible. It's okay to believe HIV/AIDS is a conquered and invincible disease - if you are white. African Americans make only 12 percent of the population, but approximately 60 percent of HIV infections yearly. The more and more HIV/AIDS becomes a black disease, the less America will care to do anything about the problem. Lets be really honest, if you're black and HIV positive in America, you might as well move to Africa because maybe, just maybe, Bush might bother to pay attention to you there.



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