Gates Foundation Urges Funding for Bush Africa AIDS Plan
July 11, 2003
President Bushs public campaign to battle HIV/AIDS in Africa is praiseworthy, but it is now up to Congress to commit to full funding for a global AIDS response, said a director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. "We strongly believe the full amount that was authorized should be appropriated," said Dr. Helene Gayle, director of the HIV, TB, and Reproductive Health program at the Gates Foundation. "Even that is just a down payment on the resources that are necessary."Adapted from:
Although the House yesterday moved to approve only two-thirds of the money available in the HIV/AIDS prevention legislation Bush signed in May, Gayle said there is plenty of time for 2004 funds to be increased. "This is just the very beginning of the appropriations process. Our hope is that it will be fully funded," said Gayle. Congress must approve funding for Bushs five-year, $15 billion AIDS spending package each year.
Gayle, formerly of CDC, called Bushs efforts a "tremendous step forward," but went on to note that AIDS is not an enemy restricted to Africa. "If we are going to have the impact we need on the global epidemic, we need to look at countries in Asia like China and India, countries in Eastern Europe ... that are going to part of the next wave of HIV infections," she said.
With a $24 billion endowment, the Gates Foundation has made fighting the spread of AIDS one of its top priorities. About $500 million has been committed by the foundation in the past several years to AIDS-related initiatives, including prevention education and research to find an AIDS vaccine. Gayle said a multi-pronged approach to fighting AIDS such as the "ABC" program of "Abstinence, Be Faithful and Condom use when appropriate" must also include the treatment of STDs, voluntary counseling and numerous other efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.
07.11.2003; Helen Jung