United States’ Fight Against AIDS


11/25/03


On May 27, 2003, Bush signed a law committing $15 billion dollars to fight AIDS in fourteen of the most afflicted countries with this disease over the next five years ([1]&2). AIDS is a global problem that affects everyone in some way or another. Therefore, everyone benefits when someone fights this problem. The AIDS problem has grown so much that organizations and funds are no longer able to handle this problem by themselves. This has become a global problem and now states are the ones who need to take charge in fighting this issue. This is exactly what the US is doing. The new bill will give much needed assistance to these fourteen countries that are hard hit by AIDS. The objectives are to “prevent 7 million new HIV/ AIDS infections, treat 2 million HIV-infected people, and care for 10 million HIV-infected individuals and AIDS orphans. 2” However, there are two important problems that arise from the aid the US is giving. The first problem is that there will be problems in coordination between the US and other developed nations in giving aid to countries that are hard hit by AIDS. Other developed countries have an incentive to “free ride” on the US assistance. To solve this, there has to be coordination by multinational organizations such as the UN that will punish those nations that do not contribute money to this cause. Second, there are structural problems in the countries where the aid is going. The problems arise especially when corrupt government officials try to take advantage of the goods the US provides. For example, when the US sends block grants to these governments, corrupt officials can steal huge amounts of money. To solve this problem the US should rely on international organizations such as UNAIDS and World Health Organization to go to the countries and actually implement themselves the necessary aid instead of relying on the governments to do so by themselves. Thus the countries receiving the aid must allow for these international organizations to come into their countries and do the work. If these changes can be implemented the US assistance will be effective and good. Furthermore, a structure will be built by solving these two problems by which stronger foundations will stand on so that it will be easier to fight AIDS in the future.


Bush said in his statement regarding the aid given, “AIDS is a significant threat to global development and stability, the US is backing up that understanding with a commitment to substantial new resources.2" One of the reasons why the US is helping these countries is morality. The US is the most powerful economy in the world and the countries that most suffer from AIDS are among the poorest of the world. Thus, it makes sense that the US should help these states. Nevertheless, there are benefits besides these moral ones that will benefit the US. The first is that this bill will “highlight the softer side of US foreign policy in the wake of a sharp break with some traditional allies - including France, Germany, Canada and Mexico - over the war in Iraq. 2” The economic assistance given will soften countries that are currently against the US and its foreign policies. This legislation will also calm international pressure that wants the US to increase the aid they currently give to these countries. Also, the countries the US will help will owe allegiance to the US. By giving this assistance, the US is creating allies all over the world. Domestically the Republican Party will benefit because they are the main sponsors of this bill (as both congress and the president are republicans) as people like giving assistance to those who are worse off. This bill will be especially popular among the African-American population.


Furthermore, it will benefit the whole world. It is important to combat AIDS itself. One of the main arguments for fighting AIDS is that governments with, for example, one out of three adults is infected with AIDS become unstable and this becomes a major threat to the whole world, as terrorist organizations or civil wars could take over. Furthermore, there is the threat that this disease will keep spreading and will eventually reach