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June 23, 2004
Hello to all,
I am just back from Philadelphia where the President made several announcements regarding his international and domsetic HIV/AIDS agenda. We are all excited that there was such a terrific response. I am glad you are interested in HIV/AIDS and am looking forward to answering your questions.
Bill, from Pittsburgh, PA writes:
The President is spending $2.4 billion this year and will ramp up funding to more than $3 billion toward the outer years of the program.
Steve, from Houston TX writes:
Why get tested if there are no medications accessable for long periods?
But the other message is also clear - we want you to and others to know that if you are at risk, you should get tested.
Kevin, from Columbus, Ohio
He also is encouraging the participation of any provider, including faith-based and community organizations that show results, recognizing the need for State and local planning, and ensuring accountability by measuring progress.
Through all these ways we want to reach those in greatest need.
Thank you for your question.
Jillian, from Chicago writes:
The President also announced that we will establish a second HIV Vaccine Research and Development Center, in addition to the one at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The new center will become a key component of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise.
Maybe this would be a great fit. Thanks again and keep up all your good efforts.
Michael, from Pennsylvania writes:
The President will continue helping faith-based organizations.
Gary, from New York writes:
Is there any indication that these companies will be applying for review under the new process?
There is definitely strong interest in this program and the FDA is hopeful that in the next month one or more generic manufacturers will apply.
Cliff, from Brimfield, Ohio writes:
The President is committed to succeeding in this battle. The President launched his Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief last year, which has provided much needed funding to 14 countries in Africa and the Caribbean. As a result of this initiative, as well as other efforts, there have been many success stories. The Reach Out clinic in Kampala, Uganda received funding only 6 weeks after the Congress appropriated the money and the Mbuya parish has now more than doubled the number of patients it is treating with life-extending antiretroviral drugs. Uganda has also cut its AIDS infection rate to 5% over 10 years.
The Administration is also working domestically to get help to those living with HIV/AIDS. In the FY 2005 budget, $17.1 billion has been allocated towards domestic AIDS research, care, prevention, and treatment. Additionally, in May the President announced an expedited process for reviewing applications for new, easy-to-administer HIV/AIDS drugs.
We are making great strides and are moving ahead in our fight against HIV/AIDS.
Dan, from Kansas writes:
Let me give you one or two examples of the great work that is being done to give people hope and save lives.
In the Mbuya Parish in Kampala, Uganda, the ARVs have arrived on a big scale. Reach Out received the funds for 500 clients on ARVs from the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief on the 9th of March, 2004. Four days later, 13th March 2004 the first client started on ARVs provided through these funds. Here is a direct quote from their staff, "We are experiencing something very beautiful our clients will have a chance to continue to live!!"
Here is another story that the President talked about today. This will give you a real look into the lives that are being changed for the better.
Jennifer is a 36-year-old widow with two children 13 and 15 years old. She has no education nor has her children ever been to school. In February 2004, her CD4 count was 2 (norm 400-1600) and she started on ARV drugs (individual sponsorship) end of February. She developed severe headache a few weeks later and came to the clinic where she was diagnosed with Cryptococcal meningitis and started on treatment with Diflucan.
Two days later we see her on home visit. Her Community Supporter and the Central volunteer had visited her already the day before and even the same morning just to check on her.
She is much better now. She is both on TB and ARV treatment and now Diflucan. She is illiterate, but her blue TB card and her pink ARV card are beautifully filled out. All the tablets are taken as they should none forgotten. Her marks in the card are beautiful a bit shaky as they are when you dont know how to write but they are correct!!
Her house is about 3x3m MAX, and there is one foam mattress with three small pieces of cloth to cover the foam. No pillow, no blanket. A bag of WFP food in the corner, a few pieces of clothing and three cups and plates. She lives here with two teenage children.
After going through all the medicines etc, she asks with a smile, whether it would be at all possible to get a blanket there is none for the kids or for her. With the help of the Indian Womens organization we can give her two blankets. She grabs my hand with gratefulness and her smile lights up the room I am left humbled but grateful as her smile is such an encouragement to keep our work going.
She is on ARVs now and she wants to live does all she can to follow her medication. She has many other needs clothing, food, love and care - and later on help and training to provide for herself and the kids. They are all important in order to succeed getting back to life.
Joshua, from Lincolnton, NC writes:
The President's Emergency Plan is moving faster than any major international AIDS Initiative. Today, President Bush announced the second round of funding that will become available following Congressional Action. With this round of funding, $865 million will be on its way to 15 focus countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean that are home to nearly half of all HIV-infected persons in the world. That represents nearly a tripling of U.S. Government resources for these countries. Those funds are dedicated to scaling-up integrated prevention, treatment and care programs for HIV-infected persons and AIDS orphans.
On February 23, 2004, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Randall L. Tobias, announced the first round of funding - $350 million dedicated to the focus countries. Within two weeks of that announcement, and within six weeks of the first funding for the Plan, a clinic in Kampala, Uganda had doubled the number of patients receiving antiretroviral therapy because of the Emergency Plan. In multiple sites in several countries, antiretroviral therapy is reaching those in need, care is being provided to AIDS orphans, and prevention messages are being disseminated. But because of limited trained personal and physical infrastructure, the President's Plan is also focusing on building the capacity to expand prevention, treatment and care as rapidly as possible. And so, with each year of the Plan, the resources will increase. President Bush has requested $2.8 billion in his 2005 Budget.
Americans can be very proud of the bold, rapid and compassionate action of President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Together, we are leading the world in fighting this tragic disease.