Bush’s HIV policy: What does its future look like?

Since the Bush era, there’s been growing concern about the future of women’s health and HIV/Aids prevention. PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, is intended to “help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world.” However, we found an article from CNN that discusses a major issue we’re concerned about with Bush’s policy: the conditionality of abstinence in order to receive aid, which is an unrealistic standard to impose on international communities trying fight the virus. Today, the possibility of cutting foreign aid for HIV/Aids prevention has heated up the political debate. Charles Lyons, the president of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, says this cut would be  “very, very concerning and comes at exactly the wrong time,” stating that the program has been a “game changer” in the fight against AIDS.

Advocating for this topic on the art scene, first-time filmmaker  Maggie Betts produced a documentary called “The Carrier” that gives a voice to a Zambian mother’s struggle against AIDS. Her fight to protect her child from acquiring the disease becomes real, not just a problem to be ignored through policy budget cuts. In the film, the help of US funding provides health care workers to come into her life and prevent the transfer of the disease to her children. Maggie Betts works to represent mother’s side of this issue, which is so rarely explored.

What are your thoughts? PEPFAR has been successful in improving women’s health globally, and AIDS medicines could reduce the transmission from infected to non-infected partners by 96%. Should there be some form of security for PEPFAR’s future? What changes do you think should be made?

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