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AHF: Obama’s Response to AIDS Criticized in New “It's a Shame” Ads


In bus shelter ads surrounding the White House, AIDS Healthcare Foundation campaign expresses disappointment at the fact that President Obama is set to go down in history as the first President to scale back the U.S. commitment to fighting the global AIDS epidemic

Playing on iconic “Hope” rhetoric and imagery from 2008 presidential campaign, the ads aim to highlight promises unfulfilled and to spur the President to action

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today announced the launch of its latest advocacy campaign aimed at U.S. President Barack Obama for his lackluster response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the U.S. and globally. President Obama is set to go down in history as the first President to scale back the U.S. HIV/AIDS funding commitment. The “It's a Shame” ads—which can be seen on ten bus shelters in the area surrounding the White House—play on the rhetoric and imagery of the iconic “Hope” ads from his 2008 presidential campaign and aim to highlight promises unfulfilled. The ads direct viewers to the campaign website: where they can learn more about the President’s dismal record on AIDS and sign a petition urging the President to “Keep the Promise on AIDS.” The campaign will also appear as full-page ads in the Washington Blade and the South Florida Gay News.

President Obama has proposed reducing funding for PEPFAR and scaling back treatment. In 2013, the President proposed cutting the program by $214 million. In the 2014 proposed budget, the President doubled down on these cuts by once again proposing to slash PEPFAR’s budget by hundreds of million of dollars compared to previous years. In human terms, these cuts will deny treatment to at least 640,000 people. In addition, under the Obama administration’s tenure, the percentage of PEPFAR funding spent on ARV treatment has fallen from 40 percent to less than 25 percent. One immediate effect in South Africa: the respected AIDS clinic (Sini’kithemba clinic) at McCord Hospital in Durban closed as a result of reduced global funding including the PEPFAR cuts.

On the domestic front, during President Obama’s time in office waiting lists for state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) have ballooned from 43 people when he took office in January 2009 to as many as 10,000 people last year.

“The evidence is in: AIDS treatment saves lives and prevents new infections. But under the Obama administration the U.S. has retreated from promises made through PEPFAR, scaling back on its commitment to fund treatment threatening the lives of thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “President Obama’s rhetoric includes the ideas that the recipient countries must take ‘ownership’ or ‘share responsibility.’ But this is just a fancy way of saying that the U.S. is not committed to staying the course in the fight against AIDS.”

Added Weinstein: “President George W. Bush – who created the landmark PEPFAR program - demonstrated that leadership on AIDS matters. Not only is it a ‘Shame’ to see Obama cut PEPFAR funding, it is an utter disgrace.”

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 200,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website:, find us on Facebook: and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.


AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Lori Yeghiayan Friedman
AHF Assoc. Director of Communications
Telephone: 323-308-1834
Mobile: 323-377-4312
Ged Kenslea
AHF Senior Director, Communication
Telephone: 323-308-1833
Mobile: 323-791-5526


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Information in this article was accurate in April 29, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.