Bush to Sign Bill to Help Fight AIDS
May 27, 2003
In a ceremony today at the State Department, President George W. Bush is to sign a five-year, $15 billion plan to help prevent and treat AIDS, especially in more than a dozen African and Caribbean countries. The legislation, if fully implemented, is supposed to prevent 7 million new HIV infections, care for 10 million HIV-infected people and AIDS orphans, and provide antiretroviral therapy for 2 million. The AIDS package, which Congress completed last week, recommends that 55 percent of direct aid go to treatment programs, 20 percent to prevention, 15 percent to palliative care, and 10 percent to AIDS orphans. It would also allow, but not require, the administration to contribute up to $1 billion in 2004 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.Adapted from:
Bush had urged Congress to get the bill to his desk prior to his departure for the June 1-3 "Group of Eight" summit in Evian, France. At that meeting, he is expected to use the measure to solicit other countries to do more to fight AIDS. "Other wealthy nations -- specifically G-8 member nations -- must follow suit with similar funding increases," said Jose Zuniga, president of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care.
To appease conservatives, the measure allocates one-third of the prevention money to promote abstinence, and it says religious groups will not lose funding because they oppose certain prevention methods, such as condom distribution. Supporters of the legislation said Uganda has been successful in lowering HIV infection with the "ABC" program, which advocates abstinence, faithfulness, and condom use when appropriate. Others said it was a mistake to focus on any one strategy when local customs vary widely.
The legislation nearly triples current U.S. contributions to AIDS programs. However, Congress must still approve actual spending levels in its annual budget appropriations process. The bill calls for spending $3 billion a year, but the administration is seeking only $1.7 billion in 2004, or $2 billion if programs addressing malaria and TB are included.
05.27.03; Deb Riechmann
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.