November 1, 2007
Everyone's pledging this week!
In a whirlwind week, five candidates signed the Presidential Pledge for Leadership on Global AIDS and Poverty and committed to spending $50 billion over five years to fight global HIV/AIDS and to take steps to fight global poverty. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John Edwards, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) signed the pledge this week to help the 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, joining Gov. Bill Richardson who was the first to sign on a few weeks ago.
"It's been fantastic to see these candidates stepping up to the plate pledging the kind of policies needed to defeat the virus," said David Bryden of the Global AIDS Alliance fund, which has presented the pledge to all of the presidential candidates.
After Clinton was informed last Friday by a New York Times blogger about Tuesday's protest in Philadelphia, she quickly signed the Global AIDS Alliance pledge. Rivals Edwards and Obama signed the pledge later that weekend. Edwards had already called for $50 billion in his HIV/AIDS plan weeks ago, and included many of the plan's recommendations, such as appointing a cabinet person to fight global poverty. But the pledge-signing was the first time Obama has clearly supported the figure, which experts say is the amount needed to combat AIDS worldwide, in particular, increasing the number of health care workers from poor countries who have left for better pay elsewhere.
Candidates who signed the pledge agreed to:
- Provide $50 billion to the global fight against HIV/AIDS by 2013
- Give the U.S. "fair share contribution" to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, as well as providing basic education and health care to children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS
- Support policies for comprehensive sex education that prevent violence against women and girls and trade agreements that protect access to generic medicine
- Create a cabinet-level post to address global poverty
- Eliminate debt for a broader range of countries than is currently allowed
But while Obama and Edwards have also presented plans to combat AIDS domestically, all the other Democratic candidates, including Clinton, haven't shared their strategies for fighting AIDS in the United States. Word on the street is that Clinton's domestic AIDS plan is written and should be ready soon.
The next step for the Global AIDS Alliance is to get all Republican candidates to sign the pledge. "AIDS is a nonpartisan issue," Bryden said.
Global AIDS Alliance Fund is a 501c4 charitable organization, so tax and election laws allow it to participate in partisan activity including having candidates sign pledges. Housing Works is a 501c3 organization, which means we can't be partisan—but we can report all the latest HIV/AIDS election news and gossip. Stay tuned.