House To Consider PEPFAR Reauthorization Bill Wednesday
The House on Wednesday is scheduled to consider a bill (HR 5501) that would reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, CQ Today reports (Vadala/Ethridge, CQ Today, 3/27).
The measure, which was approved in February by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would allocate $50 billion for PEPFAR over the next five years. President Bush had called on Congress to authorize a $30 billion, five-year extension of PEPFAR. The bill also would remove a requirement that at least one-third of HIV prevention funds that focus countries receive through PEPFAR be used for abstinence-until-marriage programs. It also would require "balanced funding" for abstinence, fidelity and condom programs based on evidence in each PEPFAR focus country. In addition, the bill would retain the requirement that PEPFAR recipients pledge opposition to commercial sex work.
The bill would allow groups to use PEPFAR funding for HIV testing and education in family planning clinics but not for contraception or abortion services. The bill also would require reports to Congress if abstinence and fidelity programs compose less than half of country-level spending on programs aimed at preventing sexual transmission of the virus. In addition, the bill would allocate about $9 billion to fight tuberculosis and malaria, which often affect HIV-positive people in Africa. That amount also would underwrite food supplements for people living with HIV/AIDS. The bill would provide loans to women widowed by the disease or ostracized because of their HIV-positive status (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/29).