Senate approves Bush’s $15 billion international AIDS bill
Graham McKerrow, HIV i-Base
The US Senate has approved president George W Bush’s proposal to spend $15 billion on a massive international project to treat two million people and prevent seven million infections in 14 African and Caribbean countries.
The House approved the Bill by 375 to 41 with amendments that give it a more conservative tone. It provides for $3 billion a year for five years to be given to foreign HIV projects and $1 billion next year for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
The Bill endorses the controversial so-called ABC prevention model that advises: abstinence, be faithful, use condoms. One amendment included in the Bill specifically allocates one third of the prevention funding for abstinence and monogamy programmes. Democrats criticized this amendment as likely to detract from other prevention measures such as condom use and the Democrat leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, said: “We must support what works.” Another amendment strengthens the “conscience” language already in the Bill by ensuring that religious groups will receive US dollars even if they object to certain prevention measures such as condom use.
However, the Senate rejected Republican calls to prevent any of the money going to organisations that give advice on abortions, on condition that family planning and abortion programmes are run separately.
The Bill also responds to fears voiced by some Republicans that the Global Fund is inefficient by setting up a federal task force to monitor the Fund.
President Bush praised the House for passing the “historic” legislation that supports the proposals he made in his State of the Union addressing January. He went on: “Today’s action is an important step toward providing critically needed treatment and care for millions of people suffering from AIDS, and proven prevention programmes for millions more who are at risk.”
US Clashes with World Health Organisation:
US $15 billion approved by Senate:
Hooray for Bush! Wait . . . never mind:
House Approves Major Global AIDS Bill:
Information on the bill, H.R. 1298, can be found at:
The HTB report on Bush’s State of the Union address: