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News From the AIDS Conference

At least one person in the Bush administration agrees with Sen. Coburn--sort of.
In a speech to conference delegates Tuesday, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul called for a freeze on confabs until participants can demonstrate they've accomplished the myriad goals spelled out already.
"I propose a moratorium on any more meetings about global architecture, declarations, communiqu├ęs and commitments until we have met all the commitments we've made," he announced to a smattering of applause. An aide said afterward that this would include canceling the 18th International AIDS Conference scheduled for 2010 in Vienna.
Dybul, who oversees the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, joked that his idea of eliminating gatherings such as the one he was speaking at would also reduce the carbon footprint made by 23,000 people traveling to the conference.
"Everything's been said," Dybul said in an interview Tuesday. "Now what we need to do is act."
The relief program re-authorized last week dedicates $39 billion over the next five years for international AIDS programs. Dybul said the U.S. spends about $19 billion on HIV/AIDS domestically.
Noting that the United States provides 55 percent of the resources for global AIDS efforts, he said it is time for other countries to do their part.
"We need the rest of the world to respond in a comparable way," he said. "One country cannot do it all.
Dybul's aide now says that she misunderstood him. He still wants to have the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, just not other kinds.
The aide later said Dybul did not mean to suggest canceling the Vienna meeting.
-- by Ceci Connolly

By Frances Stead Sellers  |  August 6, 2008; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  AIDS  
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