Senate Approves $415 Million for International HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Efforts
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed the $15.6 billion House FY 2002 foreign appropriations bill (H.R. 2506) that includes $415 million in international aid for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, Reuters Health reports. The aid package earmarks $40 million for the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria introduced by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June. This amount is in addition to $50 million appropriated to the fund earlier this fall, and the upcoming Senate Labor-HHS appropriations bill is expected to earmark $100 million for the fund. Altogether, the Senate is "on pace" to contribute $190 million to the fund next year, $10 million less than the $200 million proposed by President Bush in July. Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) sought to increase the fund's allotment to $750 million over the next two years, but their efforts "have been largely sidelined" by the prioritization of security and terrorism issues. Biden, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Reuters Health, "It's not enough, but it's as much as we're going to get done at this moment." Annan has called for countries worldwide to donate $7 billion to $10 billion to the fund, saying that this amount is needed to "drastically reduc[e]" the HIV rate in African and Asian countries. The bill also allows $15 million to go toward microbicide development, and $10 million is earmarked for an international AIDS vaccine fund. An additional $175 million may be used to address other infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and malaria (Zwillich, Reuters Health, 10/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.