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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:

  • $750 million for an international AIDS trust fund. (The fiscal year 2002 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill appropriates only $475 million for the global HIV/AIDS programs with an additional $100 million slated to be appropriated through the FY 2002 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations and another $100 million provided through the FY 2001 emergency supplemental bill. That means total spending for the year is about half the authorized amount.);

  • $485 million in bilateral assistance for education, treatment and prevention -- to be administered by USAID;

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  • $50 million for a pilot program for the treatment of those infected by HIV and to assist developing countries in procuring pharmaceuticals and antiviral therapies;

  • Establishes programs to strengthen health care delivery systems in developing countries; and

  • Provides assistance aimed at the prevention of transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child.

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.



  
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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.
 
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