Congress Should ‘Swiftly’ Pass Kerry-Frist International HIV/AIDS Spending Bill, Nashville Tennessean Editorial Says
"Congress should react swiftly and favorably on legislation" sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) to boost international HIV/AIDS spending by more than $4.5 billion over the next two years, a Nashville Tennessean editorial states. The government has already appropriated $952 million in the fiscal year 2002 budget for international HIV/AIDS initiatives, the editorial notes, adding that the Kerry-Frist legislation would increase such funding to $2.172 billion in FY 2003 and $2.576 billion in FY 2004. The Tennessean says that although the bill is aimed at combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria around the world, "special attention must be place[d] on Africa," which accounts for 11% of the world's population but 70% of its AIDS-related deaths. Frist's involvement with the bill should be influential in the Senate because he "brings special expertise to the matter of Africa, where he has traveled extensively and developed first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing the people there," the Tennessean says. The editorial notes that the Senate is also considering a funding package for interventions designed to reduce the number of mother-to-child HIV transmission cases in developing countries. Frist worked on the package with Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). "[I]t is gratifying to see Congress placing attention on [HIV/AIDS]," the Tennessean says, concluding, "It's an excellent example of how the United States can be a world leader in health. Moreover, it's an example of the sort of mission this nation should feel obligated to lead" (Nashville Tennessean, 5/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.