Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Your July 21 editorial “Problems with PEPFAR,” on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) included several statements that require correction.

The editorial reported that the Senate bill would commit $48 billion to PEPFAR over the next five years. In fact, that total also includes funding for Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).

You asserted that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that $35 billion “would suffice” in funding PEPFAR over the next five years.

In fact, CBO did not make any such assessment, as it does not send people abroad to assess programs and the world’s HIV/AIDS needs. What CBO noted was that most but not all amounts appropriated for PEPFAR over the next five years would be outlaid within those five years - as with all other government programs. This finding has no relevance to the appropriate level of PEPFAR funding.

You further asserted in an editorial (“AIDS funding boondoggle,” July 16) that the bill’s funding for the Global Fund “would go to pay for coercive sterilizations and abortion.” Yet in a letter you published on July 21 but did not rebut, David Bryden of the Global AIDS Alliance flatly asserted that such activities have never been financed through any Global Fund grants. It is worth noting that the bill includes new Global Fund accountability and transparency benchmarks, including the ability to withhold U.S. funds if these important benchmarks are not met.

The Senate bill preserves the PEPFAR program’s successful founding principles, and it deserves the wide support it has achieved.


Senior fellow

Ethics and Public Policy Center


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