U. S. Congress Passes AIDS, TB and Malaria Bill; Legislation Includes TB Alliance
On May 16, the United States Senate voted to enact the “US Leadership Against AIDS, TB and Malaria” Bill. The legislation provides $15 billion over five years for the worldwide prevention and treatment of AIDS, TB and malaria.
President Bush said, "With today's vote in the United States Senate, Congress has given the hope of life to millions of people in countries most afflicted by AIDS. This historic legislation will enable us to provide critical treatment and care for millions who suffer and greatly expand successful prevention programs to help those at risk."
The legislation authorizes the spending of $15 billion over five years. It also would allow, but not require, the administration to contribute up to $1 billion in 2004 to the international Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Congress must still approve real spending levels in its annual budget appropriations.
The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development is featured in the bill as one of the organizations working to expand and improve TB control efforts through the development of new, faster TB medicines.
The package recommends that 55 percent of direct aid go to treatment programs, 20 percent to prevention, 15 percent to palliative care and 10 percent to children orphaned by the disease.
The bill pays particular attention to AIDS in the Caribbean and in Africa, and emphasizes that tuberculosis is the number one killer of AIDS patients. Passage of the bill helps carry out a vow Mr. Bush made in January, during his State of the Union Message, to greatly increase American global spending on the disease.
Much reporting over the last several months highlighted the fact that progress on the bill had been stalled by debate over ways that United States funding might benefit foreign groups that promote or perform abortions, and on the methods of disease prevention the bill should support. According to recent New York Times coverage, the administration says it has found a compromise: organizations that perform or promote abortions can receive AIDS money, but they must not use it for abortion-related activities, and must provide strict accounting to confirm as much.