"Reading Meaning Between the Lines – Part II"
[Read Part I]
So how about the second sentence: “…[W]e must focus our efforts on fellow citizens with the highest rates of new cases, African American men and women.” Now that really isn’t anything to work with. In fact, the statement is about as concrete as what the Bush administration has done for the rampant spread of HIV in the Black community.
Wait, that’s not true. It has had some effect. Because HIV/AIDS is disproportionately affecting the Black community, the Bush administration’s ill-fated policies with regard to the illness are disproportionately affecting the Black community. Here are two examples:
One in every four new HIV infections occurs in young people under the age of 25 and “African Americans account for 56 percent of those infections.” Studies have time and again proven that “comprehensive sex education” in schools has a direct and steady improvement on the sexual health of our youth. Yet the Bush administration insists on funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into ineffective abstinence-only programs, which “teach adolescents false and misleading information about reproductive health.”
“Over half of all people with AIDS and 90 percent of children with AIDS are covered by Medicaid.” While 8 percent of white Americans are on Medicaid, it is estimated that “22 percent of Black Americans” get their health care through Medicaid. The White House’s recent proposals for changes to the Medicaid system, which would give more “flexibility” to states in their decisions about Medicaid coverage programs, has AIDS activists up in arms as it “could result in the states offering fewer services to people with AIDS.”
(We’re guessing Vice President Cheney, who only recently found out that HIV is ravaging the African-American female community, didn’t feed this second sentence to President Bush either.)
And here are some missing sentences (on the fight against HIV/AIDS worldwide):
“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, started three years ago with hopes of raising $10 billion a year to combat disease in the developing world, today finds itself short of its goals and on the defensive with its largest patron, the Bush administration. At a meeting…in Tanzania, Global Fund backers fended off what they contend was a bid by the United States to postpone a new round of grants by the fund in 2005.”
“In fact, the Bush administration has proposed for the past two years that the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund be frozen at $200 million. Last year, Congress overrode the president’s wishes and appropriated $547 million.”
Though President Bush “quoted prices for generic versions of AIDS drugs in his [2003 State of the Union],” his Emergency Plan for AIDS relief “requires use of expensive, brand-name, American-made drugs, rather than let[ting] poor countries stretch their money by buying cheaper generics.” These Western pharmaceuticals are available “at prices at least four times higher than the lowest-cost generics.”
The U.S. government completely ignored or hid research warnings that showed severe flaws in a study of the use of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine. President Bush then devoted $500 million to send the drug to Africa, authorizing its administration to thousands of African mothers and babies.
“U.S. money often goes to the ruling elites in impoverished countries without any way to track whether the funds are actually used to treat or prevent HIV/AIDS….Three years after Bush made his pledge, the U.S. program has helped fewer than 100,000 of the world’s 42 million people with HIV/AIDS.”