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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2009
9:49 AM

CONTACT: Africa Action

Michael Stulman (202) 546-7961

On April 15th, AIDS Activists Target Congressional Leaders with Nationwide Prayer Vigils

Our Tax Dollars Must Go to Fight AIDS

WASHINGTON - April 7 -  

WHAT: On Tax Day, hundreds of grassroots activists, community leaders, faith groups and concerned citizens across the country will gather in prayer at the offices of key congressional leaders who are responsible for the government’s budget, and will call for their tax dollars to be directed at fighting AIDS. The activists will light candles in memory of the 25 millions lives lost to the AIDS pandemic over the last 3 decades and peacefully demonstrate in support of $2.7 billion in 2010 for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, which is the US fair share.

WHO: Hundreds of grassroots AIDS activists, community leaders, advocacy organizations, faith groups and concerned citizens.

WHEN: Tax Day, Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

WHERE: Outside the offices of key legislators responsible for deciding how the US government spends money. The specific locations are:

San Francisco, California (Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi)
Chicago, Illinois (Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., Representative Mark Kirk, Senator Richard Durbin)
White Plains, New York (Representative Nita Lowey)
Iowa (Senator Tom Harkin)
Vermont (Senator Patrick Leahy)
Pennsylvania (Senator Arlen Specter)
Nevada (Senator Harry Reid)

WHY: In the 8 years of its existence, the Global Fund has saved an estimated 2.5 million lives through programs in 140 low-income countries that provide mosquito nets, malaria drugs, TB drugs and HIV treatment and prevention services to millions of people around the world. The Global Fund’s tremendous success is threatened by a serious funding shortage for the 2010 funding rounds. Two years ago, the Global Fund Board of Directors, on which the US government has a seat, voted to triple the size of the Fund. Rich countries challenged poor countries to deliver bigger, better and bolder grants. Poor countries responded, but funding to support all the high quality grants has not followed. Of the $8 billion needed to fill each high-quality grant for 2010, donors have pledged only $3 billion dollars. If this $5 billion funding gap is not resolved, the Global Fund will be forced to drastically cut existing and future grants to developing countries, jeopardizing the health of millions of poor people. The U.S. has a responsibility to ensure that the Global Fund, which has been an effective, multilateral vehicle to fight killer diseases around the world, is adequately funded to continue with its great work. The U.S. must lead donor nations by contributing its fair share to the Global Fund, which is based on the size of the U.S. economy. For 2009 and 2010 funding the U.S.’s fair share comes to a total of $2.7 billion (1/3 of the $8 billion in total need). Through these prayer vigils, activists will be asking key members of the congressional appropriations committee to support $2.7 billion dollars to the Global Fund.

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Africa Action is a national organization that works for political, economic and social justice in Africa. Through the provision of accessible information and analysis combined with the mobilization of public pressure we work to change the policies and policy-making processes of U.S. and multinational institutions toward Africa. The work of Africa Action is grounded in the history and purpose of its predecessor organizations, the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), The Africa Fund, and the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), which have fought for freedom and justice in Africa since 1953. Continuing this tradition, Africa Action seeks to re-shape U.S. policy toward African countries.



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