Formation of the Global AIDS Alliance
Multinational HIV/AIDS Advocacy Group forms, asks Congress for fund-
ing to help Africa
Various groups from around the world yesterday officially announced
the formation of the Global AIDS Alliance (GAA), launching a three-
pronged campaign to "accelerate action to reverse the global HIV/AIDS
pandemic". GAA Co-Director Dr. Paul Zeitz said, "Using the combined
voices and actions of our constituencies, the GAA is committed to
generating the political will that is necessary to ensure that an ex-
panded and comprehensive response to the HIV/AIDS crisis is imple-
mented and achieves results. ... The work that we have to do together
is immense. But the energy and commitment of our expanding number of
partners is even greater" (GAA release, 3/29).
As part of its first action, the group announced an effort to con-
vince Congress to approve US$ 2.5 billion to fight AIDS in Africa.
Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) said, "The all-out effort to sort of
bring this issue one inch away from everybody's face around the coun-
try, I want to lend my support to that" (Minneapolis Star-Tribune,
3/30). The group also intends to launch the Meds-for-All campaign to
build on work already completed by treatment access groups, as well
as another campaign in which the group will assist the Jubilee coali-
tions, an "international movement" calling for debt cancellation for
countries that are unable to pay, with their debt-relief initiatives
(Brown, ReutersHealth, 3/29).
The GAA also will co-sponsor the "Stop-Global-AIDS-Now" rally and
march in New York City on June 23, coinciding with the United Nations
General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS. The GAA comprises the
following initial collaborating partners: African Services Committee,
AFRICARE, American Jewish World Service, Black Church Communal Net-
work, Constituency for Africa, Drop-the-Debt Campaign, Health Gap
Coalition, Jubilee USA Network, Malawi Network of People Living with
HIV/AIDS, Pan African Charismatic Evangelical Congress, Student
Global AIDS Campaign and the United Methodist Church (GAA release,
British Lawmakers Criticize African Governments for Lack of Effort in
The British Parliament's International Development Committee yester-
day called for increased spending to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and
"slammed" the governments of sub-Saharan nations for not "do[ing]
more" to combat the disease. Reuters reports that the committee
criticized what it found to be "a serious failure in political lead-
ership and governance among central and southern African governments
in dealing with the disease." It also criticized the governments for
failing to sponsor "low-cost measures," such as education campaigns
and condom distribution programs, that would help reduce the spread
of HIV/AIDS (Reuters, 3/28).
Committee members said they were "shocked by the shortage" of condoms
in some of the countries (BBC News, 3/29). The committee also criti-
cized Britain's Department for International Development for "lacking
an overall HIV/AIDS strategy" and called for changes to development
programs and policies that would "take account of the sweeping impact
of HIV/AIDS." In addition, the committee called for more funding to
fight the virus (Reuters, 3/28). Unless steps are taken to improve
the situation in the near future, the committee warned, some parts of
Africa will face a "real danger of [their] systems and infrastructure
collapsing." Committee Chair Bowen Wells said, "As the report shows,
HIV/AIDS is having an impact beyond the lives of those infected;
health and education systems, the economy, agriculture and security
are all threatened" (BBC News, 3/29).
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