Elton John recently praised President Bush for the funds he gave for AIDS and for all the good he had done in Africa to help those with AIDS, but Obama is so busy fund raising he just doesn’t have time for such trivial conferences.
Obama will skip the International AIDS Conference this week, he thinks fundraising is more important.
The AIDS conference is being held in the U.S. for the first time in 22 years and will be attended by high profile politicos such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, among others.
Obama also has proposed to cut funding for AIDS relief in his 2013 budget, AIDS activists were not pleased with the president’s decision.
“It’s a huge missed opportunity,” said Matthew Kavanagh, head of policy for Health GAP, an advocacy organization on AIDS. “The people who are touched by HIV in this country and who care about HIV are potential core constituents for the president.”
Wendy Schiller, a political science professor at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island said Obama should spend his time in front of broader constituencies, including the National Urban League, a century-old civil rights organization.
“The National Urban League is going to be like President Obama’s army, so if you have to make a choice between the Urban League and the International AIDS Conference you go with your solid, loyal troops,” Schiller said.
The U.S. has spent about $46 billion since 2003 combating the disease internationally through Pepfar, which primarily funds the purchase and distribution of antiretroviral drug treatments for people in developing nations.