Entries in AIDS (3)


Bush on Gay Marriage, Why Obama Kept His Terrorism Policies

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania) -- President George W. Bush cautioned against criticizing gay couples, saying in an exclusive ABC interview that you shouldn’t criticize others “until you’ve examined your own heart.”

Bush had waded into the revitalized gay-marriage debate last week — if only barely — in a comment to a reporter in Zambia, who asked whether gay marriage conflicts with Christian values.

“I shouldn’t be taking a speck out of someone else’s eye when I have a log in my own,” Bush said.

The former president explained his comment to ABC’s Jonathan Karl during their exclusive interview last week in Tanzania.

“I meant it’s very important for people not to be overly critical of someone else until you’ve examined your own heart,” Bush told ABC.

As president, Bush opposed gay marriage, and Republicans pushed ballot measures to ban it at the state level. The topic has seen rejuvenated discussion after the Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on gay marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The 43rd president traveled to Africa with former first lady Laura Bush to promote their Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative, a program through their foundation to expand care and prevention of cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Last week, the Bushes helped renovate a clinic in Zambia that will serve as a cervical-cancer screening and treatment center.

As president, Bush launched the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, to address the wide spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Since leaving the White House, he has received warm welcomes on the continent.
“People admire America,” Bush told ABC. “Africans are thrilled with the idea that American taxpayers funded programs that save lives.”

By chance, the Bushes and Obamas crossed paths on their coinciding Africa trips, as President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spent six days touring the continent to strengthen U.S. ties with sub-Saharan nations. President Obama and President Bush appeared together in Tanzania, but did not speak publicly, at a ceremony commemorating the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy there.

“This is one of his crowning achievements,” Obama said of PEPFAR before their meeting. “Because of the commitment of the Bush administration and the American people, millions of people’s lives have been saved.”

“We just chatted about his trip,” Bush said of their time together, noting that he asked Obama about his daughters. “We didn’t sit around and hash out policy.”

On his ascent to the White House, Obama heavily criticized his predecessor, mostly for the war in Iraq. But Obama has maintained some of his Bush’s national-security policies since taking over — a posture that has earned him criticism from liberal supporters.

Obama has continued the use of overseas drone strikes, and, most recently, the White House and the National Security Agency acknowledged that until 2011, NSA continued collecting email “metadata” records for U.S. citizens. The Bush-launched program continued with Obama’s approval.

Asked why some of his counterterrorism programs have continued under Obama, Bush suggested that Obama realized the gravity of security threats after becoming president.

“I think the president got into the Oval Office and realized the dangers to the United States,” Bush told ABC. “He’s acted in a way that he thinks is necessary to protect the country. Protecting the country’s the most important job of the presidency.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


GAO Report: HIV Fund Oversight Visits More Frequent to Sunny Locales

Tom Williams/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Department of Health and Human Services workers responsible for overseeing a program that administers grants to programs that help impoverished HIV/AIDS patients occasionally take trips to ensure the money is being spent effectively.

But an investigation by the Government Accountability Office found that these officers from Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of HHS, have taken almost 20 trips to such sunny destinations as the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, while neglecting places where the disease has hit the hardest.

Under the Ryan White Care Act, enacted in 1990, the federal government gives out about $2 billion a year in grants to programs that provide medical care to low-income HIV/AIDS patients.

The U.S. Virgin Islands, for example, receives $1 million annually in Ryan White Care funds, but HRSA program officers made six visits there from 2008 to 2011, and 12 visits to Puerto Rico, which received $31 million in funds.

Less exotic locations received much less attention, according to the GAO report.  HRSA officers visited New Jersey, which received $47 million in Ryan White Care grants, only once from 2008 to 2011.  And Maryland, which received $40 million, wasn’t visited a single time.
No other location in the United States received as many oversight visits as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The GAO report criticized the Department of Health and Human Services for ”lack of oversight” when it came to selecting site visits and overseeing grants made under the Ryan White Care Act.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who asked the GAO to look into the issue, had a harsher assessment.

“It is troubling that a few exotic locations with little grant funding saw far more visits than more mundane locations that received significant funding,” Coburn, who is also an M.D., wrote in a statement.

Coburn demanded that the agency “should be setting travel priorities based on dollars, risk and need, not any other factors.”

When contacted about the report, Martin Kramer, director of communications at the Health Resources and Services Administration, issued the following statement:

“The Ryan White program is a valuable program that provides care, treatment and life-saving medications to more than 500,000 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS across the U.S.  That’s why HRSA is committed to improving and strengthening the Ryan White Program and has developed a detailed action plan to address the recommendations in the GAO report.  In fact, prior to the GAO report, HRSA was already making improvements to strengthen the program.”

The agency justified the multiple trips by pointing out that Puerto Rico’s HIV rate is nearly twice that of other parts of the U.S., and the death rate is three times higher.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hecklers Interrupt Obama at Connecticut Rally

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(BRIDGEPORT, Conn.) -- President Obama's speech at a Democratic National Committee "Moving America Forward" rally Saturday afternoon in Bridgeport, Connecticut was interrupted by a group of protesters who stood up and shouted about global AIDS funding.

The president addressed the protesters directly saying, "We're funding global AIDS, the other side is not." Obama then suggested that the protesters interrupt the speeches of those who don't want to finance the fight against global AIDS.

The group has appeared at other Obama campaign events this election season, including a rally in Boston two weeks ago.

The president stopped in Bridgeport on behalf of Democrat Richard Blumenthal, who is facing former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon in a race to become the state’s next Senator.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio