House Passes Increased Funding for Global HIV/AIDS
December 11, 2001
On Tuesday, December 11, the House of Representatives passed the Global Access to HIV/AIDS Prevention, Awareness, Education and Treatment Act (HR 2069) by voice vote. The House-passed legislation was a compromise among the original sponsor, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA), Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), and the International Relations Committee, chaired by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL). The bill authorizes -- does not appropriate -- nearly $1.3 billion annually to combat HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Senate action on the bill is not expected until early next year.
AIDS Action applauds Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) for her efforts in introducing the legislation and leading negotiations with Chairman Hyde to increase bilateral and multilateral funding for international HIV/AIDS programs. The bill includes the following provisions that provide appropriators the ability to direct federal funding toward global HIV/AIDS efforts, especially programs addressing the epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa:
The social and economic costs of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa are already significant. The UNAIDS 2001 Update on the HIV/AIDS Epidemic found that, "sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most severely affected by HIV/AIDS." There are currently 28.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the region, 3.4 million of whom were infected in 2001. The epidemic has claimed the lives of 17 million Africans and left more than 6.5 million African children orphaned.
HIV/AIDS is a global scourge that must be fought on a global scale. AIDS in the United States cannot be eradicated while it ravages sub-Saharan Africa, South America, the Caribbean and parts of Asia. AIDS Action supports the idea that coordination and cooperation among the U.S. federal government, international governing bodies and domestic and international non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations and social service organizations is essential in addressing this global health crisis both at home and abroad. Passage of HR 2069 is a major step toward that important and shared goal.
This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.