The White House on Tuesday unveiled President Obama’s national strategy for combating HIV/AIDS, which aims to curb infections by 25 percent in the next five years by focusing resources on demographic groups that are most at risk.
While the plan does not call for significant new spending — drawing criticism from several AIDS activists — officials said it represents a smarter use of federal dollars to stem the epidemic, which infects 33 million people around the world, 1.1 million of whom are in the U.S.
But some groups dedicated to fighting the epidemic were critical of the fact it took officials a year and a half to come up with a plan.
One such group, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, hit Mr. Obama for what they described as a “laggard approach” on the issue and for not fully backing global AIDS initiatives put in place by former President George W. Bush.
“This strategy is a day late and a dollar short: 15 months in the making, and the White House learned what people in the field have known for years. There is no funding, no ‘how to,’ no real leadership,” Michael Weinstein, the foundation’s president, said in a statement.
Mr. Weinstein criticized the White House for not supporting a bill authored by Senate Republicans that would have used $126 million in unspent stimulus dollars to reduce waiting lists for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. More than 2,000 Americans in 12 states are currently waiting for assistance to purchase medications.