AFJN works with faith-based and other organizations to bring a comprehensive understanding of the devastation of HIV/AIDS in impoverished countries in Africa. U.S. leaders need to be encouraged to address all aspects of the problem and implement policy to effectively alleviate the burden of the disease on an already vulnerable population. As a Catholic organization, AFJN encourages the Church to examine its policy on comprehensive prevention and treatment methods including the use of contraceptives in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in order to preserve and protect the sanctity of life.
The U.S. government should:
- Provide continued and increased funding for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Global Fund is the most effective, comprehensive means of disbursing money to fight global AIDS. Through a partnership of donors, governments, businesses and individuals, funds are dispersed efficiently and transparently.
- Extend the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) beyond the completion date of 2008 to ensure that the support already given to thousands of people in 15 countries not only continues, but can expand to reach more people in need.
- Ensure effective implementation of The United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-25) which requires that 10% of overall global HIV/AIDS funding is expended for orphans and vulnerable children programming. In PEPFAR focused countries, children account for 15% of those in need of AIDS treatment, yet only 4% are receiving treatment in PEPFAR programs.
- Ensure funding for the Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005(P.L. 109-95) which passed last year provides the first child-centered framework to provide support and services to the most vulnerable populations.
- Support a new initiative on developing a health workforce in AIDS-impacted countries. The U.S. should work with African governments to identify their specific needs and establish best practices for community health workers and sustainable health systems. As a community of faith that seeks to serve the poor, it is clear that sustained commitment and creative action are necessary to develop and support the health workforce needed to secure the right to health for the most vulnerable.