Putting AIDS Treatment First
In response to Michael Gerson's May 14 op-ed, "Moral Scales in the Senate," we would like to correct the record on our commitment to helping save the lives of people with HIV-AIDS around the world.
Mr. Gerson baselessly attacked our position on the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and went so far as to accuse us of being "indifferent to human suffering." Nothing could be further from the truth. We have said repeatedly that we think PEPFAR is one of America's most significant foreign policy accomplishments in years. In fact, along with Sen. Jon Kyl, we have introduced legislation that would continue PEPFAR's lifesaving focus by maintaining the mandate that at least 55 percent of all funding through the program be tied to treatment of patients living with HIV.
When it comes to AIDS, treatment is prevention. If we fail to aggressively treat patients, we endorse the spread of the virus. By requiring that the majority of PEPFAR funds go toward treatment, we are working to prevent the spread of this devastating virus. HIV-AIDS has destroyed far too many lives already, and it is time to say enough is enough. We must continue to support legislation that makes treatment a funding priority.
U.S. Senator (R-N.C.)
U.S. Senator (R-Okla.)