On Monday, I spoke with Paul Guggenheimer of NPR's Dakota Midday radio program about the Obama administration's global AIDS plan. The segment is worth a listen particularly for the other guest - Waheeda Shabazz-El of CHAMP and ACT-UP Philadelphia. Waheeda's explanation of what Obama must do to tackle HIV/AIDS in the U.S. is made much more powerful by her intimate personal testimony of how she contracted the virus and became an HIV-positive activist.
AIDS activists like Waheeda and myself like the Obama administration's proposed AIDS strategy, and it appears that our message of support to the President-elect to follow through on his committments is getting through. Despite having disappeared from change.gov a few weeks ago, Obama's full campaign platform on HIV/AIDS is now up on the transition team website.
What ultimately matters is how Obama implements these programs over his full term. Right now, however, the President-elect should urge Congressional leaders to heed Desmond Tutu's recent call to step up U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Recession or not, robust support for proven global health programs is a smart investment. Even the World Bank argues that African growth rates may fall if HIV/AIDS funding is scaled back.