On the heels of the White House’s latest defense of President Barack Obama’s decision to skip the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C., AIDS Healthcare Foundation releases TV ad featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa warning of the consequences of a “global abandonment of AIDS”
WASHINGTON (July 18, 2012) On the heels of a White House defense of President Barack Obama’s decision to skip the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C (Agence France-Presse: “US defends Obama no-show at AIDS Conference,” By Kerry Sheridan, July 18, 2012) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) released a TV ad featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa warning of the consequences of a “global abandonment of AIDS.” The video invites viewers to participate in the “Keep the Promise on HIV/AIDS” March on Washington this Sunday, July 22nd at 2:00 pm on the opening day of the International AIDS Conference and is currently airing on CNN and other cable channels.
The conference, which takes place every two years, is a gathering of over 20,000 leading AIDS scientists, researchers, medical providers, patients and advocates from around the world. By historic precedent, heads of state and leaders of host countries formally address conference attendees during the opening night ceremony of the conference, which takes place this year at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Only once has a head of state failed to appear: In 2006, when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to stay away from that year’s conference in Toronto.
AHF is critical of the President’s decision to host a private meeting with select attendees of the International AIDS Conference instead of attending the conference himself in person.
“Where is the accountability?” asked Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Outside the spin zone there remains $1.4 billion in unspent PEPFAR funding. The President has taken the unprecedented step of reducing global AIDS funding by approximately $214 million. The decision to host a private meeting instead of attending the conference is simply off-track and doesn’t do justice to the real men, women and children who are being affected by the President’s retreat on global AIDS in places like Durban, South Africa.”
A recent article from a South African media outlet IOL News (“4,000 HIV Patients in Danger,” By Laea Medley, July 18, 2012) described the consequences on 4,000 HIV patients who are being transferred from McCord Hospital in Durban, South Africa after the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) “phased out its financial support.”
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AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 176,000 individuals in 27 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.