Hillary Clinton is set to receive an award on Tuesday evening from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) for her “legacy of leadership” in combating HIV/AIDS.
That may bit a bit awkward, given that, as secretary of state, Clinton riled AIDS activists by slashing the State Department’s programs for AIDS prevention and treatment. One prominent activist lamented in April the “persistent shortchanging of PEPFAR,” the AIDS relief plan established by President George W. Bush in 2003, calling it one of the “more significant and perplexing trends in America’s global health policy.”
Since 2010, Clinton’s second year as secretary of state, Foggy Bottom cut the PEPFAR program, which EPGAF lists, with the Centers for Disease Control, as a “donor and implementing partner,” by 12 percent. At an event hosted by EGPAF earlier this year, singer Jamar Rogers offered harsh criticism of the Obama administration’s repeated cuts to the program and, by contrast, praised the Bush administration for its efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. “I love the president, I support him, but I really do think that it’s kind of a travesty that George W. Bush did more for AIDS/HIV research than Barack Obama,” he said. Rogers revealed that he was HIV-positive while competing on The Voice in 2012.
In remarks at an event marking World AIDS Day on Monday, President Obama announced plans to shift $100 million to the National Institutes of Health to fight HIV to “eliminate [the virus] completely.” Though that pales in comparison to the $15 billion sum pledged under PEPFAR, it has garnered praise from the likes of Desmond Tutu and may help to quell the criticism, at least temporarily.