House Passes Bill That Would Establish Office To Coordinate Care, Treatment for AIDS Orphans
The House on Monday passed a bill (HR 4061) that would increase government aid for AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children in developing countries and establish a new federal office to oversee the efforts, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/14). The measure, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) in the House and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in the Senate, would create a separate USAID office to better coordinate and provide assistance in support of children's basic care; treatment for HIV-positive children; school food programs; elimination of school fees; and inheritance rights (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/5). Because HIV-positive children require different treatment than adults, the measure would ensure access to antiretroviral drugs that have been tested for pediatric use, pediatric medical equipment and specialized training for doctors treating HIV-positive young people, according to an Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation release (EGPAF release, 6/14). The bill, which was passed by voice vote, would give priority to developing countries with HIV prevalence greater than 5% among women attending prenatal clinics and greater than 15% among high-risk populations. The Senate has yet to act on the companion bill, according to the AP/Sun (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/14). "This important bill gives orphans infected with HIV around the world a chance at a real future," EGPAF Vice President Mark Isaac, said, adding, "Without treatment, most children born with HIV can expect to die by age two. With sustained drug treatment and medical support throughout childhood, the chances of long-term survival and a productive adulthood improve dramatically" (EGPAF release, 6/14). Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, said, "Millions of children are now counting on Congress to not only pass this bill but also provide full funding" (Global Action for Children release, 6/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.