AIDS

President Bush said: “Because HIV/AIDS brings suffering and fear into so many lives, I ask you to reauthorize the Ryan White Act to encourage prevention, and provide care and treatment to the victims of that disease.”

FACT: Two years ago, President Bush promised to spend $3 billion per year to “turn the tide against AIDS” abroad. Congress approved $2.9 billion to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases in 2005, but it cut the U.S. pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to $350 million — almost $200 million less than last year’s donation. “The administration is also blocking the Fund from receiving $88 million that Congress appropriated in the 2004 fiscal year.”

FACT: “Although Bush quoted prices for generic versions of AIDS drugs in his announcement, in fact the first round of US grants under its PEPFAR program does not authorize the use of generics, instead favoring drugs from Western pharmaceutical companies at prices at least four times higher than the lowest-cost generics.”

FACT: 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.