Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) applauds President George W. Bush’s five-year reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece (, 7/30).

However, she also writes that more effort needs to be directed toward HIV/AIDS on U.S. shores, citing recent statistics released by the Black AIDS Institute that showed more than half a million African Americans are HIV positive.

“Despite the efforts of me and my colleagues, the response to our own AIDS epidemic has been woefully inadequate,” she writes. “Although African-American communities and leaders are now mobilized on AIDS, the federal government has not committed the necessary funding and focus to fight AIDS in America, let alone AIDS in black America. Sadly the United States would probably deny its own application for AIDS relief because our response does not even meet the minimum standards we set for other nations.”

Lee advocates for a national AIDS strategy and HIV prevention efforts designed exclusively for African-American communities.