PEPFAR funding bill authorised by the US Senate
Simon Collins, HIV i-Base
As one of the major source of international funding for antiretroviral and other HIV-related programmes in developing countries, it was critically important that PEPFAR legislation be reauthorisd at the end of George Bush’s final presidential term.  Currently 1.7 million people are estimated to access ARV treatment and 200,000 women have accessed drugs to reduce mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy through the programme since it was launched in 2003.
The bill approved $50 billion, including $5 billion for malaria, $4 billion for tuberculosis and $41 billion for AIDS. Of the AIDS money, a proportion – $2 billion next year – would go to the international Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Senate vote came after months of negotiations with Senate conservatives wanting assurances that the new AIDS bill would continue to include programs promoting abstinence and fidelity and would not discriminate against religious groups in allotting funding.
This will help continue pressure for HIV-specific programmes when many international funders (including the UK’s DFID) are voicing concerns about vertical funding and proposing shift to supporting broad health infrastructures without HIV-specific targets.
A broad range of organisations and commentators reacted positively to this news.
- For comment and background see the PEPFAR website.