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  • ‘Be the Generation’: Medical Students Fight to End AIDS, TB, and Malaria

    In the weeks leading up to World AIDS Day (December 1) and the fourth replenishment conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (December 3), medical students have been advocating for the U.S. to make bold investments in fighting these three diseases.

    The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is the main multilateral funder in global health. It successfully channels 82% of the financing to fight TB, 50% of financing to combat malaria, and 21% of financing for HIV/AIDS. On December 3rd, 2013 in Washington, DC, world leaders will make new commitments to replenish the Global Fund. These pledges will determine the amount of funding that will be available to fight AIDS, TB and malaria globally between 2014-2106.

    Last week, a group of students from Harvard Medical School held meetings with staff members of Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). They asked the Senators to urge President Obama to make a $5 billion pledge to the Global Fund over the next three years. Just a few weeks earlier, students from Michigan State University had a meeting with staffers of Representative Benishek (R-MI) to discuss the Global Fund and ask Rep. Benishek to sign on to a letter in support of global AIDS funding.


    Photo: Students from Harvard meet with a staffer in Sen. Warren’s office to advocate for the Global Fund.

    In addition to conducting legislative visits, medical students have been successfully generating media attention on the Global Fund replenishment. Students from the Medical College of Virginia/VCU recently published an op-ed in their local newspaper, as did students from the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (article unavailable online).

    Medical students have also continued to advocate for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), asking their members of Congress to sign a bipartisan letter in support of PEPFAR. Thirty-eight Senators and Representatives signed the letter initiated by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), calling for President Obama to double the number of people on antiretroviral treatment through PEPFAR from 6 million to 12 million by 2016. In a remarkable show of support, on November 19th the U.S. Congress unanimously passed legislation to extend PEPFAR’s authorization for another 5 years.

    For the first time in history, we have the scientific advances to effectively fight HIV, TB, and malaria. Now we need the political will. If you would like help organizing advocacy events at your school, please reach out to the AMSA AIDS Advocacy Network at aan.chair@amsa.org.

    As Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul noted, we can be the generation to defeat these diseases. Are you in?

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  • What are you doing on December 1st?

    World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

    We are already excited for 2012 and have started putting together tools for future physicians across the globe. 

    AMSA members are working to impact national and international policy related to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and to provide AMSA chapters with the tools to engage students in the fight, while teaching the skills of political advocacy. For World AIDS Day 2012, AMSA has prepared a toolkit, providing information and ideas to raise awareness in medical schools and local communities.

    World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts and get involved. Start planning early - December will be here before we know it! 

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  • Successful World AIDS Day 2011

    By Tim Anderson
    AIDS Advocacy Network Chair, AMSA


    Nationally, World AIDS Day was a success. President Obama made a firm commitment to treat 6 million new cases by 2013 - the goal which we have been calling for. He pledged 50 million dollars to be re-directed from public health funds toward Ryan White and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) to help shrink the waiting lists here in the United States.

    I've very proud of the AMSA members across the country for working hard to organize local World AIDS Day events from charity fundraisers to educational talks to policy actions. Please email pictures & descriptions for us to post online - we've already started to get materials from AMSA chapters around the country which will be up on http://www.amsa.org/AMSA/Homepage/About/Committees/Global/AIDSAdvocacyNetwork.aspx shortly.

    Thank you to all those who wrote letters to the editor, op-eds, and other messages to alert the world of the dire funding state of global HIV/AIDS. Over 100 AMSA members sent in LTEs on WAD or in response to Clinton's speech earlier in November. We've had letters published in Iowa, New York, Illinois, Florida, Washington D.C., and Ohio.

    Unfortunately this week also had its share of bad news - the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was forced to cancel its annual funding round for 2013 due to decreased contributions from donor countries. This is unacceptable. Not only does the funding freeze means decreased access to treatment globally but hundreds of hours wasted by countries and non-profits in writing grants and designing AIDS treatment plans which will now go unfunded. Industrialized countries have broken a promise to the world's most vulnerable populations and we must call on the U.S. and other industrialized countries to strengthen their promise.

    As 2011 comes to a close we turn our eyes to the International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Washington DC this July. For the first time in its long history, the International AIDS Conference will be hosted in the United States (thanks to President Obama's repeal of the HIV travel ban). The IAC offers an amazing opportunity in which global leaders, researchers, policy-makers, and activists come together to press forward towards ending HIV/AIDS. AMSA's AIDS Advocacy Network will be working to organize premedical and medical students to come to D.C. and rally before the conference to call for a GLOBAL commitment to ending HIV/AIDS. Please email us to be involved in planning as the conference is only 7 months away and we would love to have your chapter involved.

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  • World AIDS Day 2011

    Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. The world now has the tools to virtually eliminate continued transmission of a virus that’s claimed the lives of more than 25 million people over the last three decades.

    The White House is scheduled to make a major announcement tomorrow. In light of 4 years of flat-line funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and recent cuts to the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund, and subsequent discontinuation of new Global Fund grants to support health care programs all over the developing world, we have much to hope for from the President on December 1st.

    But we need your help! Take a moment to send a "Letter to the editor".  

    AMSA is proud to stand among global partners calling for real commitment. Please join us in this movement. For more information, check out AMSA’s World AIDS Day Toolkit.

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  • Commemorating World AIDS Day

    Today, members of the American Medical Student Association join millions of people across the globe to observe World AIDS Day today. They are working to impact national and international policy related to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and to provide AMSA chapters with the tools to engage students in the fight, while teaching the skills of political advocacy. 

    AMSA is advocating for:

    • President Obama and Members of Congress to fully fund the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.

    • President Obama to keep his campaign promise from 2008 and increase funding for global AIDS to $50 billion over five years. More funding will double the amount of people on HIV treatment, increase access to proven HIV prevention tools, and train and retain hundreds of thousands of health care workers.

    • An end to AIDS drug waiting lists in the United States and countries around the world by expanding treatment programs and providing universal access to life-saving medications. There are still 10 million people globally who lack access to AIDS drugs leading to continued growth of the epidemic and millions of preventable deaths.

    “World AIDS Day is a day on which we, as a global community, stand in solidarity to halt the devastating effects the current pandemic has had on people, communities and nations,” says Merrian Brooks, AMSA AIDS Advocacy Network Co-Chair. “AMSA members will rally across the country to bring education and activism to bear in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

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